The view from my veranda

Shabbat Shalom letter – Putin Nobel, Rouhani duplicity, Netanyahu USA

4th October 2013
Shabbat Shalom dear friends. Here I am over my jet-lag, still smiling from the thought of baby Callie, my new grand-daughter in New York, my grandson (her brother) Joshua and Daniel and Karen. I saw a few wonderful friends and family but I was somewhat limited since I had a rotten coughing bug for half of my visit so saw few people but those I saw were a joy.
Since returning to reality I decided that the world has gone insane! Why is it even worse than the insanity of prior to my USA visit? Well try these for size.
While happy to see that the imminent cold war between the US and Russia was averted over Syria, can they really be serious in nominating Putin for a Nobel Prize?
I am not surprised that the UN accepted Rouhani’s duplicity but when the real Rouhami expresses his Machismo and utter lack of respect for America with “Washington called us five times before we agreed to meet Obama. “ I cannot for the life of me understand why the White House did not respond. This administration sees fit to punish Israel but not those who wish death to the USA. They see weakness in our leaders and pounce on it like the scavengers that they are.
Mahmoud Abbas spoke at the United Nations General Assembly. What was clearer than his obvious political rhetoric is that Abbas is more concerned about Jews visiting the Temple Mount than thousands of Palestinians who are being butchered and expelled from their homes in Arab countries; he sees evil only in the actions of Israel and Jewish settlers.
Prime Minister Netanyahu, had he gone the obvious route, could have charmed the United Nations and the American leadership with the ease of a polished and experienced diplomat, but he chose to tell the unvarnished truth instead. Israel is under existential threat; Israel is on the front line but do not be fooled, if Israel falls the domino effect on Western Society will be fast and furious so if the current leadership is not willing to stand up to this threat Israel is. We will defend ourselves and do not need anyones permission to do so.
I have long felt that many of the problems in the Middle East, other than those caused by the dangerous naiveté (at best) of James Earl Carter, were created by the changing of borders, the introduction of leaders brought far from their future Kingdoms as a diplomatic pay-off and the ensuing ethnic mixing which forced previously unknown challenges on entire populations forcing old ethnic enemies to share a country.
I really want you to watch this brilliant video of South African Politician Kenneth Meshoe. He speaks on apartheid and Israel saying what I have always maintained, that to call the open and free society that is Israel an apartheid state is to insult the very real and horrific suffering of black South Africans and those who fought to end real Apartheid, many of whom are Jews who now live in Israel.
London has a brand spanking new Jewish Centre. Situated in North West 3 (NW3) it has been nicknamed JW3. A beautiful building donated by Dame Vivien Duffield, the JW3 makes a clear statement to Londoners – We are here and getting stronger. Well done London, Well done Dame Vivien.
In a situation diametrically opposed to the wonderful new London JCC a recent poll finds that 1 in 5 American Jews describe themselves as having no religion. Terrifying
Back here in Israel we are entering the run-up to municipal elections and all that that entails. Jerusalem is of course the prime target for all political parties, since the position of Mayor of Jerusalem carries enormous influence – and responsibility. Every politician, diplomat or film star who comes to Israel meets with the Mayor. He must be a diplomat, politician, linguist and have an encyclopaedic knowledge of Jerusalem, her history and the sectors of this complex city. In other words he must be a Jerusalemite. Zvi and I are choosing the incumbent, Mayor Nir Barkat, for Mayor and the wonderful young people of Hitorerut (Awakening) for the City council. I normally keep my political leanings to myself but this is a special city and we need a Mayor who respects ALL sectors but favours none and wants to complement the definition of Jerusalem from the centre of government and religious capital of the world to a wonderful city to live in. Mayor Barkat grew up in Jerusalem and lives in the city, while having studied in the United States – he doesn’t spout rhetoric, he quietly gets on with the work and does not see Jerusalem as the springboard to higher positions.
Gosh I didn’t intend writing that much about Jerusalem politics but it is clearly very important to me
It was a delight to drive over to see my grandchildren and help the girls sort out their summer-winter clothes. Gosh they have grown!!! Lots of clothes to pass down from Talia to Ayala and even more to pass on to their younger cousins. As I did that ever incredible drive home past the panorama of Jerusalem at Samuels Tomb it was as if a great artist had painted the sky (well He had hadn’t he!!) in a vivid azure blue with fluffy white clouds scudding across the sky creating patterns of light and shade on the white buildings of Jerusalem. No matter how many times I pass this site I feel the excitement rising as it nears.
Since we are a bit late today – almost Shabbat, Jerusalem has already gone into peaceful mode as Shabbat nears. The quiet is almost tangible, I know that if I could just reach out over the entire view from our veranda that I could feel the houses, the people, the culinary delights – I can tell you where they came from by the aromas wafting from kitchen windows, where they fled when they were dispersed from this land and from whence they returned, most of them fleeing oppression. What a glorious melding of traditions – culinary, musical, ritual – yet coming together with the same blessings, the same gentleness of Shabbat, the same candle-lighting, the same shining faces of children as they follow their family traditions. In every way, however you look at this country, it is a miracle.
Our veranda is at it’s fruitful best. The tiny orange tree bears a surprising 8 fruits just beginning to turn from a rich dark green to the familiar orange colour; the pomegranate tree has 10 beautiful fruits which I will leave on the tree to feed the birds as their skins split to reveal the luscious red seeds within; The kumquat tree is absolutely full of fruits – tiny and ranging in colour from dark green through to their bright orange edible state; the lemon tree, ah the lemon tree, I saved from almost certain death and it is now full of young fruits; The herb garden, rosemary, lemon balm, louisa, mint, spearmint, garlic chives, lemon grass, thyme and myrtle are enjoying the slightly cooler weather – even the magical hibiscus flowers are showing their faces in the hope of a gentler sun!
You would think our veranda is huge but it is a mere 40 sq metres!!! It may not be huge but every time I walk outside I am amazed afresh by the view – the View from our Veranda.
I wish you well, I wish you Shabbat Shalom and I wish you hope. To end we have two videos of Shabbat songs – one Mizrachi (Eastern) and one Ashkenazi about the prayer for the 3rd Temple and because I love you an extra just because it is exceptional! Adon Olam, Lord of the Universe
With much love from Jerusalem, the most amazing city in the whole world.