Friday, 17 May 2013
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.http://www.timesofisrael.com/
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.’ http://toi.sr/13zky4n
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 http://www.jpost.com/Jewish-
World/Jewish-Features/Top-50- most-influential-Jews-2013- Places-1-10-313129
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 http://www.timesofisrael.com/
russia-sends-at-least-12- warships-to-syria/ . 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.http://www.youtube.com/watch?
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. http://mid-eastplus.blogspot.
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!!!http://2013.presidentconf.org.
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. https://www.youtube.com/watch?
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 http://www.youtube.com/watch?
v=e2mDP-p3qvY and of a truly spiritual Kabbalistic song which always makes me calmhttp://www.youtube.com/watch? v=1EdL_TLbHsg
With love from Jerusalem
Friday, 10 May 2013
10th May 2013
I had to write again today. It is just a short note but something beautiful happened yesterday and I just had to tell you about it.
Driving through the gates of the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem on Rachel Imenu (Rachel our mother) Street, half way between the German Colony and Old Katamon, one enters a world of glorious gardens, exquisite architecture and absolute love.
It is hard to describe but one feels intense mutual respect at every turn. The love for Jerusalem is absolute and loyalty to and for Israel complete. Even when there is disagreement with policy one will not hear a peevish word from this quarter. The food for the evening is kosher and the servers are all Israeli Jews, so that the rule of wine is not broken – as I said, utter and total respect while adhering completely to Christian beliefs and tenets.
The building was the Embassy of the Ivory Coast which is most appropriate since the decision to create the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem was taken after a few incredible people were deeply offended by this slap in the face to Jerusalem and Israel. Those people began a movement that is now in many tens of countries all over the world. The work of Jay and Meridel Rawlings, Tim King and Malcolm Hedding and Jan Willem van der Hoeven, was to begin a movement that spread its wings and love in the most positive manner possible. Jay and Meridel Rawlings live here and have four sons who all served in the IDF, Tim and Martha King have a daughter Anna who forfeited a highly successful modelling career to not only serve in the IDF but to do so with distinction and received full Israeli citizenship as a result. Malcolm Hedding is currently in the States but is so loved here in Jerusalem that his permanent residency is being kept open as a special vote of thanks for his incredible work.
The current Director, our friend Juergen Buehler, came to Israel to study science in Haifa and found himself embroiled in the love of Israel and of the Jewish people that the Embassy represents. Juergen has continued the determined mutual respect between Christian s and Jews both holding on to their identity with truth and loyalty – and giving love one to the other. His assistant Beverley Dwyer is only two years in Jerusalem but has adopted the way of life with gusto and her warmth enhances the Embassy at all levels.
Juergen opened the proceedings by welcoming the International Board of the ICEJ to this celebration of Jerusalem Day then asking Rabbi David Rosen to speak, which he did beautifully; after all few people have worked quite so hard for interfaith respect as David. He was followed by a heartfelt blessing by Rev Malcolm Hedding and then the “bracha” was given by the Rabbi of Efrat... which led to the delicious barbeque and delightful conversations which ensued. I was especially thrilled to see our old friends Earl and Kathleen Cox, who epitomise the love, selflessness and respect of the Embassy in their incredible work to promote Israel in the Christian world and my lovely friend Sheila Zucker who I haven't seen for far too long.
I don't have words to thank the Embassy and their staff for the wonderful and unselfish support they give to us – to Israel – to Jerusalem and to all our people. Watching the faces of Jill and Victor, who came with me, I thrilled at their wonder. They really, really felt the love.
Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem, the centre of our world.
Shabbat Shalom to us all
Thursday, 9 May 2013
9th May 2013
Shabbat Shalom lovely people! Shabbat Shalom. Yesteerday was Yom Yerushalyim – Jerusalem Day, so I will try to get through the news as quickly as possible to tell you all about the incredible sight of thousands of young people singing dancing and marching with flags from all corners of the city to the Old City.
The day went almost without mishap. Some over zealous youngsters called out abuse to Arab residents of the Old City and I am happy to say that they were summarily arrested; there was an incident whereby the Mufti of Jerusalem was arrested for incitement to hatred which has created a diplomatic contretemps with Jordan and Egypt.
Anyway – in the meantime the main news flashes starting with Israel's decision to eradicate several arms caches which were bound for Hezb-Allah in Lebanon. Not only dangerous but also against international law governing arms. We did what had to be done. The Syrians tried to claim that we used nuclear material but they were obviously trying to cover up their own use of nuclear materials should there be an international investigation! The reaction from other Arab countries was quiet – they are aware of what is going on. Here is the explanation Confident strikes on Syria send a message to the nervous US http://www.timesofisrael.com/
confident-strikes-on-syria- send-a-message-to-the-nervous- us/
Jamal Tirawi was released from his 30 jail sentence on a technicality. Few knew his name, but, it wasTirawi who sent the homicide bomber to My Coffee shop on March 30th 2002. That was the terror attack in which Kinneret Chaya was so terribly injured. Incredibly, Tirawi regrets his terrorist past and believes that today he would never have done such a dreadful thing. He was interviewed in his elegant and opulent home in the "refugee camp" http://www.
timesofisrael.com/palestinian- convicted-of-terrorism-set- free/
That well known genius Professor Stephen Hawking was coming to the Presidential Conference in Jerusalem in June., but deicided to cancel because he suddenly became concious of the plight of the Palestinians!!! Cambridge University, where he teaches, said, “Not at all – he is just too sick to travel”. Well, there has now been a retraction of the retraction and he is not coming in order to boycott Israel!!! When you think of how many Israeli innovations are keeping him alive and the fact that Hadassah has just make a huge breakthrough in the treatment of ALS – I wonder how long his boycott of Israeli medical advances will last!!!! So I am asking a favour. Get voting NOW - but NOW!!! Was Stephen Hawking right to boycott President Peres Conference and Israel. VOTENOW http://www.guardian.co.uk/
commentisfree/poll/2013/may/ 08/stephen-hawking-boycott- israel
A great article by our friend Danny Adeno Abebe about the financial and social situation of Jerusalem tells us that Jerusalem is doing just fine thank you. http://www.ynetnews.com/
Yesterday, Jerusalem Day, was the anniversary of the liberation of the Camps in Europe and Memorial Day for those who fell on their perilous journey from Ethiopia to Jerusalem. Pres Peres at wreath laying ceremony, remembered that President Bush (Snr) sent USAF aeroplanes to bring Ethiopian refugees from Sudan. "Many of those who departed for the journey didn't make it to the Jewish homeland. Today, at this huge event, the State of Israel honors their memory and their bravery. The story of the 'Exodus from Ethiopia' encapsulated the ethos of our people, courage - your spirit was a source of pride not only for your community but for us all. Here, standing by our national flag, we salute you all. Here and now, beside this monument, we bow our heads in memory of those Ethiopians who perished on their journey to Israel. To us they are heroes who fell in the line of duty." Here are the children of the Sheba Choir singing their journey. http://www.youtube.com/watch?
I was in Mahane Yehuda twice this week and Shouk Ramle once!!! I took Jill and Victor to my favourite coffee shop, Mizrachis, for a delicious light snack and …....... of course a a cup of Cafe hafuch! I had the most delicious “sandwich” imaginable. Toasted croissant (freshly baked) with melted camembert, thinly sliced pears and rocket! Gosh it was gooooooood! We sat and watched the world go by. As Victor observed, Arabs and Jews, Haredi and secular, Christian Priests and men with long flowing earlocks........... all bustling and rushing to get to the most delicious piece of fruit or the freshly roasted nuts and seeds. It was delightful!
JERUSALEM DAY celebrates the reunification of Jerusalem after just 19 years of division. All of us who are of a certain age remember that magical moment when Motta Gur said the immortal words “Har haBayit b'yadenu” The Temple Mount is in Our Hands.
At 10:20 on June 7th 1967, the third day of the Six-Day War, Raphael Amir of the Israel Broadcasting Services announced, "At this moment we are going through the Lion's Gate in a jeep with the Deputy Chief-of-Staff and the commander of the Central Command. I am now in the shadows cast by the gate. Now we are in the sun again, in the street. We are inside the Old City. The soldiers are up against the walls." In the background could be heard noises of shooting and soldiers shouting, "To the Wall! To the Wall!" http://www.sixdaywar.org/
-Hundreds of thousands of young people- parades, dancing and singing – it was heartwarming. Zvi and I took Jill and Victor to David's Citadel to meet Mayor NIr Barkat and wife who hold a reception for invitees - Jerusalemites - every year. The Citadel is wonderful, sitting and looking at the work of Suleiman the Magnificent – watching the guests, Jews, Moslems, Christians, Bahai and Druze clambering up to the great heights of the ramparts above us – needless to say from our very comfortable seats listening to the children's orchestra playing Jerusalem songs.
I can't help but be reminded of Jerusalem Day two years ago when I was stuck in the worst traffic jams near Mount Herzl with our Canadian friends the Kovens and the Robins and the car phone went. It was Andrew White calling me from Ezekiels Tomb in Iraq......... which was the beginning of a highly successful reclamation of the Tomb. A real international effort which succeeded in bringing together Moslems, Christians and Jews as only the Vicar of Baghdad can! Andrew went there at my behest and it culminated in a very emotional conversation with the Imam of the Tomb thanking me for bringing him and Andrew together. If it can be done in war torn Iraq – why not here????
Just about to go off to Christian Embassy for their wonderful Jerusalem Day reception on their lawn. There we will meet up with Earl and Kathleen Cox, Lola and Norman Cohen and so many other wonderful people all welcomed by the director Juergen Buehler into one of the most exquisite buildings in Jerusalem.
I have some congratulations this week. Barry and Cristine Slawsky are nearing the end of their 8 month honeymoon and we had the pleasure of seeing them at the Dan.
Friday, 3 May 2013
3rd May, 2013
Shabbat Shalom dear Friends.
The rain went away and the heat came upon us, late, but oh my goodness – it arrived!!!
The plot thickens, as we knew it would. Few thought that the Boston Bombers worked alone. Few thought that this was their only target. No-one honestly believed that it all started because the brother was not welcomed with open arms into his new society – immigrants have to work hard for acceptance wherever they are from and wherever they go to.
The younger brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, whose life was saved by Israeli trained trauma specialists in Boston, has given security forces essential information. Through his information and his mothers insane rantings the FBI and police have made great strides in their investigations.
The most recent news is that some of the newly discovered plotters of the Boston bombings got into the States without visas. If this is so, how? If I use my Israeli passport I have to stand in line at the most unwelcoming American Consulate in Jerusalem and undergo questioning and a very unpleasant attitude in order to put my visitors visa application in before finding out within 3 weeks whether or not I have been accepted. If I do it as a British citizen on line with the ESTA form but perfectly honest friends have been turned back at the airports on arrival on US soil!
About 80,000 people, citizens, ordinary folk,or even that foul term “collateral damage”, have died in the diabolical Syrian civil war. EIGHTY THOUSAND and NOW everyone is angry? What difference does it honestly make if they died at gun-point, car bombs, strafing or chemical weaponry? They died! The chances that the chemical weaponry was used by Assads troops is high and those of you who have been reading this newsletter for many years will know that I am still convinced that that weaponry came across land from Iraq 6 months before the Allied invasion.............. but that is another story. What few recognise is that there are no good guys, or very few, in this civil war. The picture isn't clear – it isn't that Assad is bad (although he is) and everyone against him is good............. incredibly there are much more troublesome, nay dangerous sectors who make Al Qaeeda look tame. Iran is certainly involved. As I said, nothing is simple, nothing is clear-cut.
It is no secret that I deeply admire Khaled Abu Toameh. He is one of few honest brokers in this complex war of words. Khaled puts all his words on the table with absolute honesty. Please read -Israeli Checkpoints Stop Terrorists, not Elections by Khaled Abu Toameh
Here are two stories of two Arab women in Israel – very different paths but wonderful results!!!!
Israeli Apartheid – Yeah!
UNWRA was created to deal with Palestinian refugees – not the millions of poor and oppressed people of Africa, and millions of the UN's money is poured into the organisation. See UNWRA's schoolrooms of hate http://www.youtube.com/watch?
v=YGJajyjMCbs&feature=youtu.be and understand why I work with, support and admire the work of IMPACT-SE (www.impact-se.org). We never have enough money but our essential research continues nonetheless.
News in short
A bill that would prevent citizens of enemy countries from suing the State of Israel cleared its reading in the Knesset. The “Dirani Bill,” named because of Lebanese terrorist Mustafa Dirani, who is suing the state for civil damages, was proposed by MKs Ayelet Shaked and David Rotem. http://www.jpost.com/
Diplomacy-and-Politics/Bill- would-prevent-enemy-state- citizens-suing-Israel-311702
Members of the European Parliament who favour labeling settlement products are misinformed about coexistence in the West Bank, Fiorello Provera, vice chair of the European Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee, said at the Knesset on Wednesday. http://www.jpost.com/
Diplomacy-and-Politics/ Settlement-labeling-policy- comes-from-ignorance-311712
Warren Buffet is so confident in Israel that he just bought the remaining part of ISCAR for $2 billion. http://www.jpost.com/Business/
Business-News/Buffett-buys- remainder-of-Israels-Iscar- for-205b-311715
Marlin and Betty Levin came from the goldener Medina to Israel in the nascent days of the state, bringing a precious cargo – colour film. Even though this is in Hebrew I wanted to show you the television interview about them and Marlins historic photographs. http://news.nana10.co.il/
So that's it on the news front – of course there is more but I wanted to have a chance to tell you about the weeks highlights!!!
With the change in the weather I took the opportunity to have lunch with Margalit Tal-Gan and my beautiful Rachel in the Botanical Gardens restaurant. The meal was as always but the view, gosh the view. The incredible bright fuchsia pink blossom of the Judas trees; the magical water lillies on the lake; the beds of snapdragons, narcissi, lupins, aquilegia and so many other flowers and of course the scattered wild flowers create an incredible peace simply serve to lighten ones mood so that even the extremely energetic laughter and conversation beside us couldn't break the karma!!!!
I half broke my promise because I went to the shouk alone not with Judith! I didn't have much time so raced to the car park and entered the magical land of succulent abundance!! Walking down the messy alleyway, down just five or six steps and that so very Jerusalem market – Shouk Mahane Yehuda, welcomes me!!! Ones senses are assaulted by the most incredible assortment of colour, aromas, noise, beauty and variety of fruits, vegetables, spices, herbs and of course unbeatable Israeli coffee. Walking through the alleyways is such a joy “Hi Yaron! Hi Shmulik! Shalom Yoav! Boker Tov Mizrachi!” It is like coming home. I bought some delicious salads and pickles from Yaron and his incredible tehina filled meat patties; cheeses from Shmulik; spices from Yoav and then had a quick take away cafe hafuch from Mizrachi's coffee shop. Somehow the courgettes are crisper, the aubergines shinier, the fruit fresher, the onions bigger and sweeter and of course the costermongers have so much more Chutzpah! At Yoav's the big baskets of dried herbs stand beside those with the pungent spices, piled into mountains of bright yellow turmeric, ground or whole, red cayenne and the deep ruddy colour of hot paprika. Gosh it excites me.
By the way – I shouldn't have spoken of the hot hot weather – the thunder is currently rumbling and the “sharav” is about to break. The Sharav or Khamsin, is a scorchingly hot, dry desert wind which blows from the Arabian Desert from May to mid-June. My lovely friend Jill and her wonderful Victor will be disappointed – I never understand how “peaches and cream” Jill can adore the searing Israeli summers without breaking a sweat while I can't – but then she loves spicy food and I can't go near it. In Israel I am called a “vusvusit” which comes from the Yiddisch “vus is dus”!! I love looking at the spices but everything in Polish moderation!
So it is Shabbat again. Incredibly Zvi and I are alone this week. The menu is different when it is the two of us – simpler but equally delicious! I am going with simple grilled fish, cauliflower cheese and baked potatoes and the wonderful, luscious fresh fruit I got at the shouk.............. especially the succulent water melon or avatiach. Why is it that Israeli avatiach is infinitely better than any other and without the black pips that my kids (at my initiation!) used as weapons in the UK!!!!– we'll save the meat for tomorrow!!!
Oh Boy!! It's raining big huge ploppy drops. Somehow I don't think Zvi will be going to his football match this afternoon. The team he is going to watch is Hapoel Katamon. The little team that could. Owned by its fans and zealously anti-racist today will decide if they enter the football league of Israel!http://www.timesofisrael.com/
Shabbat Shalom dear friends and by the way Stanley, that tiny orange tree has dropped its blossom and has about a hundred tiny oranges. Methinks most will drop but right now...........
With much love from Jerusalem, beautiful Jerusalem which has her own, her very own day on Thursday. I promise to tell you all about it!!
PS Happy happy birthdays to Gili and Talia – you are the sunshines of our lives
Friday, 26 April 2013
Friday 26th of April, 2013
Shabbat Shalom lovely friends! I hope this missive finds you well and if not then I hope it will cheer you up.
I have to start with the “difficult” news and then I promise to lighten the mood and move on to the part you all love best – Jerusalem stories!!
The Boston Bombers have monopolised the front pages of the world, and not surprisingly so. The younger baby faced brother is being tended in hospital, strangely enough by an Israeli doctor, and he will talk, of that I am certain. In the meantime his mother, in her initial interview by telephone, yelled out that her eldest son is dead, her younger son will die and she is ready to die.......... Allahu Akbar. It was eerie to hear her insane fury – which should have been desperate sorrow.http://www.youtube.com/watch?
In a later interview she said that it was a mistake, her sons would not do such a thing and blamed their actions on the USA for not protecting them! As a final sting, Mayor Bloomberg released the news that had they survived they planned a series of bombings in New York City starting with Times Square. It is too much information to absorb – it is so beyond our understanding that two young men who fled oppression and war, who found a new life and the chance for excellence in education would turn on the very country that harboured them – that gave them safe haven.http://www.huffingtonpost.co.
uk/2013/04/25/boston-bombings- suspects-zubeidat-tsarnaeva_n_ 3154000.html
In the meantime Britain jailed the plotters of a terror attack even greater than the devastating London bombings. They were jailed for 51 years after their foul plans were discovered by a very alert Secret Service. http://www.huffingtonpost.co.
uk/2013/04/26/irfan-naseer- terrorism-birmingham-terror- plotters_n_3161075.html?ref= topbar
Hezb-Allah decided to remind us of their existence since the worlds eyes are turned on Syria. In a rather dramatic action they sent a drone, an unmanned aeroplane, over Israel. It was quickly disposed of by our Ari Force and the Prime Minister, who was touring the north at the time, simply landed and took another route. http://www.jpost.com/Defense/
Analysis-Hezbollah-drone-a- dangerous-publicity-stunt- 311157
Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel is speaking out. This week he stated that Syria is using chemical weapons – or Sarin gas – on its opponents while others chose to be overly cautious about the obvious. http://www.ynetnews.com/
It may seem a strange combination at first but when one recognises the real enemies in this region one learns that it is not a matter of Arabs against Jews; the entire Arab world, indeed the entire Moslem world is riven by enmity between Shia and Sunni Moslem......... so the plane and arms deals that the USA has made with Israel, the United Arab emirates and Saudi Arabia actually make sense. The Emirates and Saudi Arabia will pay for their planes and Israel will, as usual, receive hers as part of the military aid. Israel also would receive anti-radiation missiles which are launched from a warplane. These missiles are launched and can home in on an adversary’s air-defense radar signals and destroy those sites. New, advanced radars for Israel’s military jets also would be in the package.http://www.israelnationalnews.
Yair Lapid has discovered that life is much easier criticising the government as a reporter of the news rather than as a creator of an economic plan inside the government! His fiscal plans are now entirely pleasing to the masses and have already caused the threat of widespread strikes. Working with the Unions is much easier when you don't have the heavy responsibility of the national Debt on your head!! El Al struck at the thought of “open skies” reforms to include allowing the European Airlines free access to Israeli air space and vice versa in order to create competition and lower the cost of flying into and out of Israel.
There is good news too! Keren Kayemet has completed a donation of half a billion shekels to theCompany for Location and Restitution of Holocaust Victims’ Assets, a government- owned corporation established “with the goal of doing historical justice for the victims and reinstating the assets of Holocaust victims located in Israel to their rightful beneficiaries.” http://www.jpost.com/Jewish-
World/Jewish-News/KKL-JNF- transfers-millions-for- Holocaust-restitution-311000
On the subject of Holocaust Survivors, our wonderful friend Congresswoman Ileana Ros Lehtinenis promoting the Tom Lantos Justice for Holocaust Survivors Bill against the wishes of the Dutch insurance companies that are still holding Jewish money from the time of WW2. I pray that Ileana will succeed in her fight against this disgrace.
So here I sit, having been to visit the grandchildren already. Actually I collected Yosef from school and in that religious area the bonfires are built and many of the men have already gone to Meron and the tomb of the great Rabbi Shimon ben Yochai before Lag b'Omer and the anniversary of his death. Religious, Traditional and secular children alike are building huge bonfires in preparation for Lag b'Omer all busy finding logs and old furniture, twigs and planks, indeed anything tha tmoves and will burn!! Lag b'Omer is the 33rd day of the counting of the Omer – the 49 days between Passover and Shevuot. During this time one doesn't hold joyous occasions, parties, get haircuts or wear new clothes – indeed it is to all intents and purposes a time of mourning, but on Lag' b'Omer one celebrates. One reason given is that Rabbi Akiva was desperately disappointed in the “sinat chinam” the unwarranted hatred between his students and during this period thousands died but on the 33rd day they resolved their differences and so the theories continue. http://forward.com/articles/
175487/do-we-have-lag-bomer- all-wrong/ However to Israeli children of all shades of religiosity it is a time of fun and bonfires, food and friends and an all night vigil beside aforementioned bonfire.
It is a beautiful day. The sun is shining and the searing heat of summer is still in the future. Sweet spring sunshine is kissing the white stone buildings of Jerusalem and our veranda. The orange blossom has fallen leaving hundreds of tiny fruits which will thin out as they decide which will give us our sweet citrus fruits in the autumn, the lemon tree is now covered in wonderfully fragrant leaves and the herbs are all giving off their incredible aromas in the evening. The traffic is thinning out and the shops closing at the mall............ Jerusalem is readying herself for Shabbat.
This was a great week – meeting childhood friends, making new friends and spending time with a couple who really know how to spend their lives in creative ways that satisfy their love of anthropology too. Sounds odd? Well that's because you don't know Andrew and Judy Rogers of Melbourne Australia!!!! Andrew works http://andrewrogers.org/ are all over the world, some can only be seen from above in the skies while some are mad eof stone, others are made of human beings! You really should see what they do together – amazing!
The food is cooked but I haven't set the table yet – how can I until I put this computer to bed? We have friends over this evening and then tomorrow the children all come for lunch. I know that Shoshana has her children over because the incredible aroma of Kubeh soup is wafting up and over our veranda – and Daisy and Chaim are eating a Tunisian dish while the Memos are making traditional Moroccan food and the Zarurs are sharing the cooking and making all kinds of amazing Kurdish dishes!!! We will have our home made Challot, pumpkin soup, cholent, turkey breast in a wine sauce and spring chicken in mushroom sauce – followed by nectarine crumble, baked apples and orange sorbet...................... hopefully there will be enough left for tomorrow!!!!
I bet you received an incredible email this week – most of us did!!! The email contained photographs of a truly amazing teapot which represent a Jewish life kit! Really beauty and wonderful practicality mixed up in a beautiful piece of art. http://imgur.com/a/7Rjbr#0
Time to set the table, to take one last look at Jerusalem calming, slowing, preparing for Shabbat and then I am going to rest before our guests arrive.
I wish you a beautiful Shabbat wherever you may be
v=I31t6gE4i8k Lecha dodi
and finally a little Shabbat edification!!! http://www.aish.com/h/9av/mm/
With much love from the most beautiful city in the whole wide world................. next week I am going with Judith to Mahane Yehuda so you will all be happy!!!!
Friday, 19 April 2013
Friday, 19th April 2013
Shabbat Shalom dear friends.
Such horror, such anger, such hatred, such lack of security........... all of Israel's hearts went out to Boston and to the families of those who were so cruelly murdered and those who were hurt – and those who saw things that no human being should see. I hope and pray that the reason the names of the perpetrators have not been publicised is because they bring us closer to the organisers and not to be PC. Apparently they were brothers – although the organisation they worked with is as yet unknown.
On TV news I am watching beautiful suburban areas outside Boston – Cambridge, Watertown – where people have been told to stay inside, not to dare open their doors. A policeman was killed at MIT, another critically injured in Boston. The police understand that they have to prevent any chance for these terrorists to kill as many people as possible. The white hatted suspect is on the run after his brother died of what appear to be wounds inflicted when he exploded himself after a gun-fight. White hat's name is Dzhokhara Tsarnaev, a 19 year old who is either a Chechnyan national. Chechnyans are less suspect, Caucasian (from the Caucasus) or possibly Turkish blend into society more easily – appearing to be Russian. This man won a scholarship to a Cambridge College, studied and it is now suspected that while studying he and his 20 year old brother went “overseas” to learn terror activities.
The reporter compared what is happening in Watertown and Cambridge, the checking of parcels by the bomb squad, to Israel during the Intifada. At least in Israel we know who our enemies are – sadly in the USA you do not.
Boston is suffering Terrorism – The prupose of terroism is to remove all personal security and inflict terror, paralyse normal life. Boston, Watertown and Cambridge, America, our hearts are with you and we pray that these evil terrorists, or the one who is left, will not succeed in his attempt to kill as many as possible before dying as a martyr.
The explosions in Texas are just as evil, through official negligence. Putting a fertiliser factory so close to homes and an old peoples home is criminal. Ammonia is unstable, known to be unstable and the safety precautions were clearly insufficient. Hopefully this tragedy will serve to prevent further even greater tragedies.
Baroness Thatcher was given a State funeral, a State funeral befitting her stature. It is irrelevant whether one recognises the enormous changes she made in the UK, taking a country from the doldrums to huge economic success; it is irrelevant whether one accepts that she managed to stand up to the unions and change the way a country handled its finances; it is irrelevant whether one loved her or not; the behaviour of people who were barely born when she was in power, who attempted to ruin the procession and made up disgusting lyrics celebrating her death shows a lack of respect and pride in Britain which has allowed the distressing changes in society of late. Where is the pride? Where is “I'm Backing Britain” of the 60's?
On Yom Haatzma'ut we went to two parties. One in Herzliya with our friends Annick and Shuki and one in Jerusalem. The parties were so different one from the other, both fun, both with good friends and both with “mangal” or barbeque.......... but one Herzliya , in a beautiful garden with elegant tables and food; the second very Jerusalem – fun, tons of food, meats coing off the mangal before it even made it to the plates, everyone grabbing a chair and chatting to the person next to you.
The Jerusalem party was on the rooftop garden of the Holyland buildings with a view of the entire landscape of Jerusalem all the way to Nebe Samuel (Samuels Tomb) and beyond. The weather was cold and windy but the atmosphere warm and fun. Our friends Motti and Shmulik sang and joked, (Motti is a brilliant mimic at all Israeli accents equally – Moroccan, Kurdish, Ashkenaz, Russian and so funnnnnnny!)- Benny Silman amazed us playing his balalaika and the lovely Ruhama Raz sang. Ruhama sang a beautiful song for us, a song written especially for her daughters wedding and sung by Ruhama. Even without the translation I know you will love it as we did. “Calah” or bride – beautiful bride. https://www.youtube.com/watch?
I just came home from my Friday jaunt to Givat Zeev to see my beautiful grandchildren. As always I slowed down as I passed Nebe Samuel, and saw the incredible sight of Jerusalem sprad before me, but today it was so different, not at all spring-like, Nebe Samuel was sunny and bright and Jerusalem was barely visible through the rain!! The weather is crazy, instead of sweltering heat we have rain and even snow on Mount Hermon!!! I am not complaining, I love the fact that the healing rain is keeping the grass green, the flowers blooming in the desert and the Sea of Galilee filling up slowly!
Today we will go to the graves of Zvi's parents, before Shabbat, to pay tribute and to say the age-old prayers. We chose to do so with family alone this year, making it more personal somehow. It was such a privilege for me to be their daughter-in-law, to know true heroes, to understand the reasons and determination of those who founded this incredible country. Kalman and Alla Raviv, sole survivors of their families who stayed in Poland sure that they were safe. Kalman and Alla Raviv who survived because they were here in Jerusalem fighting for the nascent country. Kalman and Alla Raviv who fought so that we could live in a beautiful, proud, amazing Jewish country – the only Jewish country in the whole wide world. From our contribution to the world one would think we were a hundred times as big!
I tried to think of what song could possibly be relevant to the horrors of this week, indeed the horrors of the last years.
Shmor al ha Olam Yeled sung by David D'Or http://www.youtube.com/watch?
Watch Over This World (Child)