The view from my veranda

Shabbat Shalom letter – Syria, Baghdad, Abu Ghosh

17th may 2013
Shabbat Shalom dear friends. I hope this letter finds you well. Here I am sitting in our salon looking out at the veranda blooming. It really looks amazing. More of that later, first to the news not much of it is good so we will need cheering up later!!!
I was thinking about the dreadful word used by most hasbara speakers – delegitimization. I hate the word, it isn’t even in the Oxford dictionary I am sure. The purpose of the lies spread by the Palestinians throught he good offices of the far left is DEHUMANISATION of the Jewish State. Dehumanisation – Goebbels strongest tool.
The civil war in Syria has become a minor story, same old same old, another war in a distant country but in truth 100,000 people are dead and no-one really cared until chemical weaponry was used and suddenly it made the headlines. 100,000 people and it didn’t bother anyone!!!! It happened by the millions in Sudan for many years and just this week Canon Andrew White wrote to tell me that at least a dozen major bombs and hundreds killed and injured in Baghdad yet no-one cares or reports. Bombs exploded in Pakistan on election day, killing and maiming. Two car bombs exploded in the town of Reyhanlı, Turkey – at least 51 people were killed and 140 more were injured. In Kabul, Afghanistan a car packed with explosives rammed a pair of American military vehicles killing at least 16 people, including 6 American military advisers. Hezb-i-Islami, a branch of the Taliban claimed responsibility………. are we so inured to violence that we don’t care or is it an effort by the media to control what we know?
Erdogan, the Turkish Prime Minister flew all the way to the USA to inform President Obama that there is trouble in the Middle East, as if he didn’t know! He probably wants aid for the Syrian refugees pouring over his borders while he continues his lambasting of Israel and indeed the USA! It would appear that no-one understands the obvious, that if Assad the Horrific falls then what? The Salaffis? Worse? What a diabolical mess that should have been nipped in the bud but is now in full poisonous bloom.
Sadly the Haredi community rioted this week, unable to accept that in order to be part of this wonderful society rights demand obligations. They rioted at the enlistment offices where Jerusalem’s young men and women go to proudly join the IDF, to defend this country. I love my religion, love the beauty of Judaism but cannot cope with those who decry my country yet willingly accept the dole, free medical care and all the social services in the name of that religion. I cannot deal with those who pray for the ability to put food on the table yet refuse to work and pay taxes…… read on as the Ultra-Orthodox turned out en masse to protest draft: At Jerusalem rally, top Haredi rabbis call on public to rise up against Israel’s government of ‘sinners’ and ‘annul the evil decree.’
On the other hand I cannot possibly understand why Anat Hoffman – the antithesis of the Ultra-Orthodox, reached the Jerusalem Posts top 50 most influential Jews when a brilliant man like Malcolm Hoenlein didn’t!!! In fact I hate to say it but I thought it a totally facile 50
PM Netanyahu went to China and came back optimistic that there would be mutual business between the two countries; then he went to Russia on a flying visit to persuade Putin not to sell advanced anti-aircraft missiles to Syria but sadly Putin has already decided to side with the bad guys and is selling the Syrians warships too . What a crazy messed up world we live in where those who purport to have similar views arm our/their enemies and those with whom we have nothing in common recognise the dangers.
Five Israeli students went to South Africa to tell the South Africans that there is no apartheid in Israel! Sadly through natural sensitivity the Palestinian propaganda which presents Israel as a segregated society, the SA’s believe everything. Only those who have never been here can possibly imagine that the Palestinian propaganda bears even a tiny iota of truth! Watch these beautiful young people.
One of the men who convinced Professor Stephen Hawking to stay at home rather than attend the Presidential Conference on Tomorrow in June was Prof. Malcolm Levitt. Prof. Denis MacEoin is a long time defender and proponent of Israel. His letter to Levitt is the ultimate lesson in erudite response to these ignoramus’s.
In truth – Shimon Peres’ Presidential Conference will have truly incredible- or should I say credible – speakers including Prince Albert of Monaco, Former PM Tony Blair, Micha’el Gorbachov, Ayaan Hirsi-Ali, Dr. Malcolm Hoenlein, Munib Al-Masri, President Clinton, Stanley Fischerand so many amazing people that with a list like this who cares if Hawking comes or stays at home? It is his problem if he doesn’t discover that there are several Palestinian speakers too!!!
Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is leading the demand for an enquiry into the Benghazi Embassy fiasco. Finally we may learn the truth
The village of Abu Ghosh just a few kilometres outside Jerusalem on the ”aliya” through the hills and winding main road. It is a wonderful place. These Moslem children are Israeli in every way; they wear jeans, text all day on their cell-phones, adore modern Israeli music and play soccer in the street. Abu Ghosh is best known for its humous, freshly ground with a little olive oil and hot humousim (grabanzo beans) on the top. The humous and all the food here in Abu Ghosh draws Israelis from all over the country!!! Zvi goes to Abu Ghosh for his barber – Abu Azaam – who has a constant stream of clients of every variety going up the three steps into the tiniest barbers shop you have ever seen! Abu Azaam knows all about each and every one of them, remembering the smallest detail!!
The people of Abu Ghosh have been part of Israel from the start, fighting with us in the war of Independence, even taking tolls on the road to Jerusalem but only from the British troops not from the Jews!! Issa, in Bustan Abu Ghosh, tells the story of his family – they collected the tolls!! The people of Abu Ghosh are Chechen originally, Moslems who converted along with the Circassians, when their native Caucasus was invaded and rather than fight the Turks they converted from Christianity to Islam.
Right next to Abu Azaams tiny shop there is a Crusader Church and a spanking new and very large Mosque, funded from Chechnya, is being built. Jews, Christians and Moslems live together in absolute harmony and the citizens of Abu Ghosh were well rewarded for their loyalty with land and housing. Many young men volunteered for the IDF and their workplace is in the regular Israeli society. Abu Ghosh is the living proof that harmony is achievable with a little love and a whole lot of tolerance.
The Palestinians held Nakba Day (Disaster day) on the 14th of May – a day of fury and violence – but for Israel May 14th 1948 was a truly miraculous day –
My thanks to Daniel Seaman for this reminder. In the afternoon of Friday May 14th 1948, David Ben Gurion made the declaration anticipated by generations of Jews for 2000 years – the reestablishment of an independent Jewish entity in our ancient homeland of Israel. The declaration extended a hand of peace to our neighbors in the spirit of the prophets of Israel. There were no threats nor warnings issued, but a sincere expression of desire to build a nation for a people weary of exile and persecution. The Arabs were the ones who chose the path of violence and set out on a war with the intent of extermination. They failed. They may choose to commemorate this day, but they would be wise instead to use this day to reflect on all their mistakes and where their blind hatred has brought them. For the Jewish People May 14th is a day of celebration the culmination of a dream of over a millennium of dispersion it is the day we officially came home.
So that’s it! Zvi and I are alone tonight – a quiet Shabbat after an insane week of Shevuot food, family and friends. The veranda is at its best before the searing heat of summer. The day lillies are blooming, the little orange tree has about 15 baby oranges and the lemon tree is reviving after the shock of its first winter. I really baby it and know it will thrive. The herbs leave every evening redolent with their heady scents and the view, ah the view.
It is time to set off to see my grandchildren in Givat Zeev. I love that drive and I know I tell you often of the view but it is so much more than that. I pass the village where Judah Maccabee was born, the Tomb of the Prophet Samuel, the route that our forefathers walked and now I drive in 15 minutes the distance it took them days to walk. This land has always been the site of conflict – always been the source of great envy – it is the lot of our people. I love this country deeply, my loyalty is absolute and my acceptance of faults couple with a determination to right them. Israel is my family or as Jill once told me when I asked her what Israel means to her “Israel is both my Mother and my child. I will defend her with all my might as her Mother yet feel protected as her child” Absolutely Jill, absolutely.
Shabbat Shalom dear friends. I wish you a warm and good Shabbes, Shabbat, Sabbath. I leave you with a video of my favourite Shabbat song Shalom Aleichem and of a truly spiritual Kabbalistic song which always makes me calm
With love from Jerusalem