The view from my veranda

Shabbat Shalom – MK’s pot, Toronto Mayor on Crack, Liberman, Iran, Chanuka,

8th November 2013
Shabbat Shalom to everyone but a very special Shabbat Shalom to my daughter Rachel who celebrates her Gregorian 40th birthday today, having celebrated her Hebrew date three weeks ago.
Our news has been full of admissions to pot smoking by various Members of Knesset – in particular Yair Lapid and Shelley Yachimovitch, bot leaders of parties! In general we thought their zigzag denials and confessions were something of a joke particularly when we hear the drug and alcohol abuse by the Toronto Mayor which hit all the headlines this week!
In the meantime, in a relatively low key election New York has a new Mayor. Here is a light-hearted look at the new Mayor who claims to have fallen in love with Israel despite his left-wing politics. Bill de Blasio has a huge task and I wish him all the best in the world because we need a strong and efficient manager in that wonderful city.
Here in Israel the biggest story is that Member of Knesset, former Minister and future Minister Avigdor (Yvette) Liberman had the charges dropped on one case and was found not guilty on another in the lower court – a unanimous decision by three judges. So much can be learned from this case, and many cases brought against politicians. It took 17 years of police investigation, rooms full of files, many allegations that amounted to nothing and an enormous amount of public money to find sufficient evidence to bring the two trials to court, apparently to no avail since the first case was thrown out by the Attorney General, a decision not lightly taken. There are two possible conclusions to be made from this and other similar situations; one is that the police work was insufficient and the other is that the constant determination to discredit Liberman and others is politically based. I do not follow Mr Libermans political ideals – far from it – but he has suffered 17 years of harassment which needs to be addressed.
Iran – new President same problems. Vacillation in dealing with the Iranian nuclear programme could cost the West the game – the end game – which is clearly being played out. It is a game of nerves which we are losing through lack of determination, lack of conviction and lack of leadership. The moment the messages are mixed between threats and appeasement the Iranians take the appeasement as weakness and continue on their path to world domination through terror. Yes I know, you all think I am being a scaremonger and even thinking I am a right-wing troublemaker but I am neither – I want us to come to an agreement with the Iranians but not with their evil leaders who cannot be trusted. Until we can find a safe way to dispose of nuclear material in a safe manner no-one is safe.
The latest “talks” between the Israeli and Palestinian diplomats, in an attempt to find some common ground seemed to have reached a possible status quo – there was even a tacit agreement that the Palestinians would get some prisoners – with blood on their hands – and Israel would get to build homes in disputed areas without too much fuss. I don’t know what the repercussions for Abbas may have been but the Palestinians are threatening to walk out of the talks. Of course Kerry is coming to try and calm the situation but since each time we get close to any agreement the Palestinians walk out and Israel gets the blame.
As I look out over our veranda – our mirpesset – and absorb the glorious view, I feel truly privileged. I love the look of amazement when friends walk out for the very first time and take in the panorama that lays before us. From Gilo to Beit Tsafafa, from Talpiot to Ramat Rachel; From Baka to the German Colony and beyond. Last night I sat there with my beautiful son Gideon and I couldn’t help wondering why this amazing and vibrant city is under attack from so many places. Why? Why is it that one tiny Jewish state bothers everyone when there are multitudinous Moslem countries which seem to be utterly acceptable. More importantly, why does the world ignore the simple fact – that none of the Arab/Moslem countries has absorbed the Palestinian “refugees” and that the countries that surround Israel are deeply racist yet are without condemnation. One tiny country that pays her dues to the UN, gives so much to the world in every conceivable sphere, reaches out to the poor and underprivileged providing succour, aid, medical knowhow, agricultural and agronomic systems and most importantly teaching civic leaders from third world countries in special courses at the Hebrew University to run their countries and cities in an efficient manner. Outreach of both governmental and NGO
Even though it is a while before Chanuka, the “sufganiot” are already taking pride of place in every supermarket and bakery. Big ones and little ones, plain sugar rounds with jam in the centre or phenomenal conditorial delights with fascinating toppings, those with separate vials of succulent flavour and with beautiful roses iced on their chocolatey toppings. A veritable cornucopia of fried obesity!!! Favourites tend to be Rum and raisin, Red Raspberry, Dulche de Leche, Chocolate, Pistachio cream and of course the inevitable sugar free for the large number of diabetics in Israel. Just take a look!
Talking of diabetics, indeed of medical research at all levels, Israel really is a leader. I believe it is the Tikkun Olam syndrome. Even I was amazed when my lovely friend Andrea sent me this wonderful video, made in Israel, all the way from Toronto.
Andrea also sent me this beautiful video about the Israel Medical Clowns – we saw them in action in hospital.
Zvi and Gideon are currently in the Old City on a culinary tour – seeing things that even “Mr Jerusalem” has never seen! In and out of the back streets visiting bakeries and sesame and tehina factories of the Arab quarter as the Muezzin calls his flock to prayer. Just another example of the freedom of all religions in this city. Gideon will come home soon and go to spend his sisters birthday with her and her beautiful children. Igal, Rachels husband sings the Shabbat Songs and the Kiddush in the Mizrachi fashion, his beautiful voice lilting and lifting. Yosef, their son, learns at a Chabad school and loves to amuse everyone at the table with his excellent “Ashkenaz” rendering of the prayers – it is so funny to Israelis to hear the “oys and boys” of the Poilischer Hebrew!!!!!
Music is of ultimate importance in Jewish life. Be it prayer or niggun, psalm or lullaby – we sing. Each week I try to give you something unusual – familiar yet different. For your Shabbat this week we have David d’Or, a fine singer captures the beauty of his voice with the ultimate prayer – Avinu Malkenu – Our Father Our King and Sarit Hadad sings Shma Yisrael
I wish you a truly amazing Shabbat and to my daughter Rachel I wish her love, laughter, joy and health for the next 80 years – Ad 120
Shabbat Shalom