Friday, 11 January 2019

netanyahu, moshe arens, turkey

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11th January, 2019

Good morning, Gut Shabbes, Shabbat Shalom and have a good day.

This has been a very strange week in the even stranger world of Israeli politics. An announcement by the Prime Minister that he had "an important announcement" which would be made on that evening's 8 o'clock main news had an entire country on tenterhooks. Would he announce that he would step down until his name was cleared from all the accusations and possible indictments? Would he announce that the Attorney General had come to a decision on his case? Had Israel reached a peace agreement with her enemies thus making all of the above irrelevant? Well, Netanyahu has a favourite and much repeated expression for the legal battles "The will be nothing because there is nothing" All I can say is that his "important announcement" was to repeat that mantra, and the problem is that he held an entire country hostage on all the news channels and for what? Other than a public demand to confront the State Witnesses in his case he said absolutely nothing!!!

He was at the forefront of the determined group of politicians who insisted that Ehud Olmert resign the minute there were accusations, as did Yitzchak Rabin, yet with at least 4 major criminal files open he refuses to step down. Israel and the Western world, are fighting multiple enemies, politically, militarily and socially, and nobody can possibly concentrate on those issues under these circumstances.

Worst of all is his implication that the Attorney General Mandelblitt is not doing his job by choosing to announce the results of the extensive investigations and inquiries before the elections. Sir, Mr. Prime Minister, the electorate deserves to know for whom it is voting.

I believe that honest politicians are few and far between, and humble politicians are a rarity indeed. This week Israel lost a man who was brilliant, honest and humble. Moshe (Mischa) Arens aeronautical engineer, Professor, who came to Israel from the USA to help build Israel's aeronautical industry, stayed and served as Israel's Ambassador to the US and Defence Minister of distinction. In his eulogy President Rivlin described his friend as a rare man of principle who believed Israel is a Jewish State with responsibility to ALL her citizens equally.  President Rivlin - “’Whether slave or tramp, you were created the son of kings, crowned with the diadem of David, whether in light or in darkness, always remember the crown, the crown of pride and of Tagar.’ Thus wrote Ze’ev Jabotinsky, whose immortal words became the anthem of the Beitar youth movement. Dear, Misha, our older brother. Teacher and guide to so many in the national-liberal camp, myself included. A Beitari, one of the giants of the founding generation, a scientist and a statesman, amongst the finest of our leaders, and amongst the most important leaders of the national-liberal camp. A brave and humane man. An unbending ideologue who never submitted to popularity or to ease. A true Zionist, with every bone in his body, a servant of the people, and never the opposite. When I was asked how to define Hadar – the nobility, glory, splendor and majesty of a Beitari - I would look to you, Misha. You walked amongst us like a king.  May his soul rest in peace.

Five young Jewish extremists were arrested last week and 4 are now on house arrest and one remains in custody. Their crimes? Throwing stones at Palestinian cars, killing Aysha Ravi, an innocent woman who, with her husband was killed by a stone thrown by one of these terrorists. In addition they were found to have written anti-Israel graffiti and generally incited hatred against Arabs – a clear crime in Israel. Many leapt to their defence because the Israeli Secret Services (Shabak) didn't afford them due process during the investigation. Although I am a law abiding citizen it did not worry me, a terrorist is a terrorist and it bothers me not if he is Jewish or Christian or Moslem – they do not deserve the rights afforded to others.

This week the United Nations proved itself to be utterly and totally morally corrupt. Yemen, number 149 out of 149 on the world scale for gender equality, has been appointed Deputy Director of the UN Women's Committee – UN watchdog of gender equality.  As Hillel Neuer of UN Watch said "Electing Yemen to protect women's rights is like electing a pyromaniac to be Fire Chief" Time for a true leader in this world to dissolve the current United nations and rebuild with totally new rules and voting rights. It was done with the League of Nations which failed to prevent WW2 – the time is now.

Turkey and her megalomaniac leader Recep Tayyib Erdogan, is doing everything to recreate the Ottoman Empire. Since his attempts to take over Syria have not been successful; his determination to retain and increase his hold on Armenia go ahead; his eyes are set on The Sudan (among others) and his hatred of both Israel and the USA have reached new heights – he is not taken seriously by most countries which is a terrifying mistake.

Tunisia, under Bourghiba, was the first Arab country to show signs of democracy and Western values, until the Moslem Brotherhood won the elections in the so-called Arab spring. Tunisia was to host the World Chess championships but chose to ban Israeli competitors and the World Chess Association may well remove the Championship from Tunisia. As many countries whose rebellion was hailed as the "Arab Spring – Tunisia is on the verge of anarchy.

As I have often said, I am very choosey about which organisations I am willing to support and sit on their Boards. I am so proud of IMPACT-SE ( ) the founder Yohanan Manor and the Director Marcus Sheff for the astonishing work done to introduce tolerance in education throughout the world but particularly here in our intolerant neighbourhood. Marcus and his team have reached out to Leaders around the world with great success and the UNESCO criteria of Tolerance in Education is based on Impact's recommendations. This week Dame Louise Ellman, an important member of the British Labour Party, introduced legislation to halt British funding of the PA over hate education, information she received from Impact, which passed the first reading with ease. Dame Louise is not alone in the Labour Party, both the Commons and the Lords, in her unwavering support for Israel there are many all of whom are trying to silence the obnoxious and dangerous Jeremy Corbyn.

Talking of racist politicians – Professor Alan Dershowitz asks the question "Is Rashida Tlaib Guilty of Bigotry" surely a question that should have been asked before the elections?

Let's remove the bad taste of politics from our minds and talk about the glorious rain here in Israel! It really has been amazing, non-stop (except for the occasional sunshine) and very cold, well Israel cold not NYC cold and certainly not Newfoundland cold! It never stops Israelis from going out and having fun even though in Tel Aviv one needs high boots to cross many roads awash from the unexpected downpour. Actually Tel Aviv is always surprised by downpours!!! I love the rain. I love the fact that the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) is filling up and will fill further when the heavy snow on Mount Hermon melts sending its precious water tumbling down the waterfalls to the Kinneret. Each morning, irrespective of the rain and cold, I stepped onto the veranda and took photos of the phenomenal sunrise, red, pink, orange and yellow, clouds scudding and glistening their reflection and thanked heaven for putting me in this incredible place.

This week I went to Mahane Yehuda again. The winter vegetables are incredible, leeks almost a metre long, white and sweet; herbs still wet with the rainwater of the fields; ginger, parsnip, celeriac and even potatoes with the mud still on them!! The stall next to David Dagim is the best for all of the above. Even through the mist of hot breath meeting cold air the costermongers succeeded in calling their wares with gusto, in Arabic, Hebrew and badly accented English! I cannot go to Mahane Yehuda without visiting Yaron Tsidkiyahu, the King of the Shouk. Yaron's family have been important characters in the shouk for generations and their pickles are world renowned. Olives shine invitingly, of every shape and colour; sweet roasted garlic, sharp gherkins and delicious ready cooked foodstuffs from schnitzel to incredible meat patties filled with tehina. Absolutely delicious. Mahane Yehuda epitomises Jerusalem in its rainbow of customers and stallholders and I love walking through just looking and absorbing the atmosphere.

Tonight we are spending Shabbat dinner with Zvi's son Leor, wife Shiri and their four girls, Amit, Gili, Ori and little Yuval. Shiri's parents and sister will join us and we all contribute food, since most Israeli women work outside the home, everybody joins in! Tonight my contribution is oven baked Teriyaki salmon, pea soup for the children and roasted veggies. I know already that the table will groan with delicious food from everyone! Leor always gives his Dad the honour of chanting the Kiddush (blessing over wine) and the children join Zvi in the blessing over the bread. I love it. Shabbat is about children learning the traditions and continuing them because it was fun with Saba Zvi.

So to songs. I promise I am not going to put you through the horror of Pink Floyds "The Wall" although both our countries have our controversies thereof right now. I wouldn't give the repulsive Roger Waters the pleasure or the royalties!!

Here's one to get you dancing! Mi Shmaamanim – He who believes.

The people of the towns villages and kibbutzim along the border with Gaza have been incredibly brave and stalwart in the face of terror in the form of rockets, riots, kites and balloons with children's toys packed with explosives. Koolulam brought them together to sing "Stillness above me" let's sing the song of love.

Finally I have an admission – I am really jealous of all of you who went to Camp Ramah. I am amazed at the lasting friendships formed, the atmosphere and the lessons learned. So finally, a wonderful video of Camp Ramah. In all probability you won't understand a word  but oh the joy!!!

Tomorrow night I will light a candle for my Father's Yahzeit, memorial. He taught me so much in life. He taught me that a parent's face can light up just because you walked into the room; he taught me to laugh even when you are sad; he taught me that life is joyous, he taught me loyalty; he taught me that even if someone is unkind or let you down they sometimes need a leg up; most of all he taught me that family is everything. Almost 30 years and I still learn from his wisdom – and all four of his children remember his cheeky laughter and incredible curiosity. He passed away at the age of 102, missing my Mummy for 25 years, and unquestionably, if he were alive today, he would have the latest iphone and computers and be busy on the net. So now you know where it all came from! Jack Silver, I am proud you were my Daddy.

Now I'm off to collect Talia and Ayala from school and get my hugs from Yosef, Rachel and Igal. On the way home I promise to take a mental picture of the panorama from Nebe Samuel, Samuel's Tomb.

Shabbat shalom to all, may you have a Shabbat filled with joy and loved ones. Always remember that someone may be alone, a neighbour, a friend, a family member, so invite them………. After all a Jewish home always has enough for another mouth and it will bring joy into a lonely life. My Mummy had a tradition, she always put an extra place setting ready for unexpected guests, so that they wouldn't feel that it was an imposition.

With all our love
Sheila and her Zvi

If the media does not inform us we must inform the media
Facebook      Sheila Silver Raviv
Involvement The Yuri Shtern Holistic Center

Friday, 28 December 2018

181228 Syria, Shemot, Elections Hopes and Dreams

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28th December 2018

Shabbat Shemot Shalom,

Christmas is past and we reached 3 French hens, 2 Turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree and of course Happy 2019 (yes this time I got the date right!)

Why Shabbat Shemot?  Why did I choose to begin with this particular Torah Portion? Because that is our Torah Portion this week and as always it is relevant to today.  Despite Pharoah's order to kill all Jewish first-born in Egypt, Yocheved and Amram have a son and for fear of him being killed they put him in a basket, under the watchful eye of his sister Miriam. Pharoahs daughter Bithya found him, raised him, called him Moses and the story of the Children of Israel was born alongside him in a little basket in the Nile. The moral? That when the world is against us create new life and bring hope to the world, I don't mean start having babies, simply don't raise your hands in despair, find new answers and keep hope high.

In truth 2018 was a pretty ghastly year.
Anti-Semitic Congresswomen voted in; London Mayor Sadiq Khan showed his true face in Pakistan and Jeremy Corbyn is a rising concern; Terrorism continues around the world; Sweden chose to put an embargo on any news concerning the huge problem of immigrant rape; France has returned to 1968 with the yellow jackets rioting for a fair economy – which turned into an anti-Semitic rant; Universities, particularly in the USA and Canada, conduct anti-Semitic conferences and demonstrations; Christians in most Islamic countries are oppressed and killed; the Kurdish people are again and again denied their right to exist despite their support for the Allies; Yemen is a killing field as is Syria and so on and so forth.

If I may address the Kurdish situation. In November 1916 Mr Sykes and Monsieur Pico drew up an agreement known as the Asia Minor Agreement, validated by Russia, basically apportioning the Middle and Near East into trading areas, creating new countries according to their economic interests rather than national and ethnic history creating many of today's problems. Kurdistan was divided among Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey which got the largest portion. Since that time the Kurdish people have been ruled with a harsh hand by all 4 countries. This week they were dealt yet another blow when the decision was made for the American troops to leave northern Syria. Leaving Afghanistan was a wise decision, it is an old and unwinnable war, but in Syria it was the Kurdish area that is deserted. The Kurds have fought against the regimes of Iraq and Syria alongside the Allies, yet they are against left out of the equation and without their homeland. It's a tough one.

Israel, on the other hand, used the opportunity of the US retreat by "removing" Iranian arsenals from a large area, taking out Hezb-Allah leaders simultaneously.

Turkey was, until a short time ago racing into the 21st century, but was refused entry to the EEC because of their unstable leader Recep Tayipp Erdogan and economy. Angry at this rejection Erdogan then tried out a series of unwise alliances, brought in Sharia law, entered the cruel Syrian war, argued with all his allies, attacked Greece calling for the return of the Greek Islands describing them as "occupied"; closed churches and made life for Christians difficult; deriding the United States in foul language and calling for Israel's destruction, and now has been given the reward of control of Syria……… I have no words

The fact that the UN declared Jerusalem as a Palestinian City is insane at the very least.

On many levels this was a wonderful year for Israel.
We won the Eurovision Song Contest
The US Embassy came to Jerusalem and others are following
Incredible initiatives on medical, technological and social levels abound
More and more Moslem and Haredi men and women are joining the IDF
Nikky Haley proved that one can be a fine diplomat and still be fair and firm in one's convictions. We continue to innovate and initiate as shown in this review of the 35 ways Israel inspired the world in 2018

My quote of the year, just yesterday, has to be when Emily Thornberry address a Jewish audience and said the immortal words "Jeremy Corbyn didn't address the Labour Antisemitism crisis because he was too upset" Aaahhhh diddums!!!
Israel's year ended with a bang when the PM announced elections on the April the 9th 2019. Netanyahu is confident that he will be reelected, but this is a fickle electorate with many floating voters who are desperate for change. Former Chiefs of Staff, are weighing into the fray, the highly charismatic Benny Gatz just announced his new political party (like we don't have enough) as did the less charismatic Boogie Yaalon. This isn't a country of two or three parties, this is Israel where everyone wants to be a leader!
The Arab parties are considering joining forces which may give them 15 seats but at least the odious Haneen Zoabi made the decision not to The Labour Party has too many fighting factions and Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid has good policies but unfortunately Lapid has been spending too much time out of Israel. Shas, the Mizrachi religious party with so much power (including a puppet Mayor of Jerusalem) is going down in the polls as are the other religious parties and Meretz is almost disappearing. It will be a very interesting Campaign. As our wonderful President Reuven "Ruvi" Rivlin demanded from the various parties – "make it a clean campaign about your plans and intentions, your manifesto, not a dirty campaign of character assassination.
Our social and volunteer life is slowly filling up again! After Shabbat we had a special visit from the Silver family! Ira, Valeri, Tomer and Shelley. I loved hearing Tomer's tales of his life and decisions in the IDF - a special family indeed. On Monday we had an impromptu supper with Danby and Marvin Ring Meital and Gabby Barkay who needs no introduction. It was a "thank you for being well enough to do this" supper, especially for Dynamo Danby!! We had "Orange Soup", that's not a soup made from oranges but rather from predominantly orange root veggies and red lentils and leeks, add a touch of ginger and it is delicious! I made fresh salmon and Danby made a wonderful mushroom couscous. With compote for dessert it was fun!
On Sunday Zvi had a Board Meeting here for his choir, Hakol Yachassi. I love their initiative, plans and harmony…… if you want a great choir that can sing at any function, they sing anything you choose (Ladino, Yiddish, Russian, Hebrew old and new).  I had a wonderful uplifting Board meeting with the Yuri Shtern Holistic Center.  On Wednesday Zvi met with his Mexican relation Alan Podolsky in the First Station, Alan is here for a year of volunteering and learning, and yesterday, ah yesterday we met with Ruth and Jozec, our lovely friends who are leaving New York City to come on Aliya to Jerusalem. It was such a joy to see them and hear their tales of choosing which books to bring, which collections to sort out, how to sell their NYC apartment and oversee the renovations in their new Jerusalem apartment. It is such an exciting time and I am thrilled that they will be so close!
Yesterday was a very special day, not just because of Ruth and Jozec, but because I saw the therapists of the Yuri Shtern Foundation in action. In a revolutionary course for medical staff at Shaare Zedek Paediatric Unit we heard from Orit, who miraculously oversees all 150 volunteers then heard from volunteers Dani, Yehudit and Judith and how they approach both patients and parents in order to give them the most appropriate therapies. Dani told of a youngster who needed a double lung transplant and was very angry with himself, his situation, his parents and his school, hindering his chances of survival. Dani described how, using Cranio-Sacral balancing, he literally enveloped the parents and the boy creating a calm they had never known. After a few sessions the boy began to make friends in school and to recognise that his wheelchair and oxygen were a blessing until he could receive his transplant.  Lena Shtern, who created a miraculous organisation, Yuri z"l would have been very proud of you. I must mention Varda Hershkovitz our brilliant Director, a dynamo full of compassion.
Gosh I haven't even reached the bit where I tell you what my dreams are for 2019!!! I suppose all my dreams and prayers can be summed up in three words – Compassion – Chemla, Tolerance- Sovlanut  and Patience – Savlanut. Perhaps I should add bravery – the willingness to stand up and be counted among those who fight for justice. Never forget my mantra – The Power of One – we can all change this world for the better, bit by iota.
I wish you a kinder world, a world where parents listen to children rather than video clips on their cellphones and friends talk to one another of their joys and ills and we listen. I wish us more people like a special Kiwi by the name of Alfred Ngaro. Listen to him, hear what he says and be proud of him

Sing, sing a song and make the world a happier place, after all it's hard to sing with a frown

Adam Lambert and Shir Le Shalom

Biglal ha Ruach – Because of the Spirit – the spirit that drives us ever onward. A beautiful rendition by the IDF choir.

The people of Otef Aza – the Gaza Envelope – those who took the brunt of Hamas rockets and tunnels, still have a song in their heart "Let me play the tune of love"

Since we know not what tomorrow will bring let alone next year I wish you Shabbat Shalom dear friends, love each other, don't judge, just love.

With all our love from our incredible veranda and that spectacular view

If the media does not inform us we must inform the media
Facebook      Sheila Silver Raviv

Friday, 30 November 2018

181130 CNN, UN, Yahya Mahamid Chanuka
30th November 2018

Shabbat Shalom! How are you doing? I would love you to tell me what  is going on in your family or town or city! It thrills me every time I hear from you!!

I know it isn't number one on the world news stations but it is absolutely marvellous for those of us who despise racism of any nature. Marc Lamont Hill stated during a pro-Palestinian meeting at the UN to "free Palestine from the river to the sea". I wonder if he knows that he is talking about a full 8 miles width!! Hill, proud to be photographed with Farrakhan, has been dropped by CNN – he went too far even for them! Despite the oppression which is apparent in the PA Hill identifies with the Palestinians, which is ludicrous because he claims to be a "liberal pundit" with free access to truths, yet he chooses to denigrate one sector of society and their homeland. Liberal, methinks not even with a small l.

CNN carried out a poll amongst Europeans who decided that there are too many Jews (despite their best attempts to reduce out numbers 70 years ago) and that we have too much influence. Well, I sort of agree with their estimate of influence because, well, because we take an interest in our surroundings, try to improve the situation of our adoptive countries, and make more noise than our numbers suggest!! Jews don't just sit back and let their lives happen – we get out there and change things.

Talking of meetings in the UN, indeed the UNGA – they have decided that East Jerusalem should be the capital of the Palestinian state. Oh really! That is really the ultimate Chutzpah. The PA already chose its capital in Ramallah (incidentally did you know that Ramallah was a Christian City?) has all its administrative building and offices there and even Mahmoud Abbas's palace.  Ramallah is a mere 10 kilometres from Jerusalem, many of its residents work in Israel and yet, the ignorance of the United Nations wants to move all of the above to East Jerusalem without bothering to ask the residents what they want! Currently they have social welfare, socialised medicine (despite being Jordanian citizens) and the benefits of living in a big city, I have my doubts that they would want to change that and become Palestinians.

Despite the best efforts of the United Nations more countries are moving their Embassies to Jerusalem, next to express determination is the Czech Republic and this week a surprise visit from the President of Chad (a totally Moslem Country) proves that the PM's outreach to Africa is paying off.

Amazingly Netanyahu is now not only Prime Minister but also holds the other two most important portfolios in government, those of Foreign Minister and Defence Minister. For most of us this is a distinctly worrying situation. However the political fight for power has begun, since the decision of Lieberman to leave the Cabinet, and Miri Regev's highly controversial bill to limit government funding to those who are totally anti-Israel – not satirists or the regular anti-establishment comedy and so on – but rather those like Muhammad Bakri who's works are verging on treason.

In most news items one hears about the "bad" Israeli Arabs, which is most unfair since there are very few of them, however some towns and villages have Imams and Sheikhs who are known to foment hatred of Israel and the Jews. One such town is Umm el Fahem, home to Ryeed Salah, who's rhetoric is so hate filled he was banned from entry to the UK. One day a 17 year old resident of Umm el Fahem heard on the news that three Israeli boys of his own age, while out on a walk, had been kidnapped and killed. He began to think of how his own Mother would feel and that brought him to question, to discuss, to be very angry at the lies he had been fed for his whole life about the Jews. Yahya Mahamid came to Jerusalem, at first he had to seek safe houses because his life was threatened by radicals, he worked and travelled for Standwithus and then, after passing all the necessary security checks he volunteered for a "Kravi" – Battle unit of the IDF. Tonight Yahaya has a television programme all about him on national television. I am so proud to know him – he is so proud and in his unit one can see him singing Hatikva louder than any other! His smile can win the world!!!

Yet another misunderstanding throughout the world is the close cooperation between the IDF and the Palestinian police and their armed forces which don't exist because they are not allowed an army by international law!! The two entities discuss and work together trying to keep some form of law and order and prevent terror attacks. Neither are easy thanks to the incitement to hatred of most political and religious leaders in the PA, but since 90% of attempted attacks are stalled it apparently works.

Captain Charles Cunnigham Boycott was an Irish Protestant land agent who tried to evict poor tenants from their homes when the British imposed very tough conditions on the poor Irish and they decided to remove workers from his land and refused to serve him in local stores – hence the word Boycott. I suspect we have all boycotted something at some point. My father insisted that we boycott anything German, be it camera or car, and many of us boycotted South Africa or other undemocratic countries. However today, boycott in the form of BDS has become unadulterated rcism. I have long said that apart from the few we should bring the students, easily impressed young people who's desire to create a better world has been skewed by disinformation, to Israel to show them just how amazing this place is. One BDS'er came to Israel to fight and fell in love with a young Israeli and is moving here! I assume that she realised that her lesbian relationship would get her killed in the PA! See what Rabbi Jeremy Rosen has to say about it!!

The case of Mark Lewis, a British lawyer who tweeted that a particularly disgusting anti-Semite was a **** , Lewis was taken to a legal tribunal and ultimately fined and had to pay costs. As Jonathan Hoffman said, "A London-based Jewish lawyer, Mark Lewis, stood up to anti-Semites and as a result faced a professional disciplinary hearing. Anyone who regards themselves as an antiracist should be appalled by this hearing and verdict. The victim has become the perpetrator.’

Universities have become a hotbed of anti-Israel activities – for the above reasons. Here are two fascinating and disturbing reports.

Chanuka. What is Chanuka if one really comes down to it? Well, the Greeks, unlike most of our depressors and oppressors, didn't want to kill us! They were tired, wanted to go home and it was just too much work to kill us off. So what did they do? They put out an edict that there was no Shabbat, no Kashrut (kosher food), no Brit Milah (circumcision) and no Jewish prayer that way we just became like them and they could go home. Of course they did some nasty stuff too like bringing pigs into the Temple but basically they just wanted us to lose our identity. Along came some brothers, led by their father Matityahu, who really weren't happy about the whole situation and they fought, ran out of oil and, as tradition has it, won their battles.  That's Judah Maccabee and his brothers. So, when you think about it the real miracle is not that there was a miracle then but rather that we survived and thrived but then we always do – in fact, right where the Macabees lived there are 3 wonderful Israeli towns – Reut, Maccabim and Modi'in!

This has been a better week for me personally. In fact the doctors are really pleased with me even though it all seems unbearably slow to me!! I really shouldn't complain because there are so many people infinitely worse off than I. Tonight some Tel Aviv friends are coming to us for Shabbat Dinner. Since I am not yet up to cooking properly they are all bringing salads with them!!! I will provide the salmon!

I am infinitely proud of my Zvi who had a write up about his and Yona Yahav's part in the establishment of the struggle for Soviet Jewry in today's Jerusalem Post. I would have given you the link but he took it with him to his parliament!!

I am very proud that I was asked by Lena Shtern and Varda Hershkovitch, to be interviewed for the Christian Allies Caucus Television by Josh Reinstein, about the Yuri Shtern Holistic Centre. Yuri Shtern z"l was the founder of the Christian Caucus and a much loved Member of Knesset. Since I am not clever enough to cut the video to size (!!!) you will find me at 11 minutes and 45 seconds!!
I hope that you will consider donating, however small or large the sum
Pvt. Shahaf is a volunteer in the IDF, but what a brilliant IDF!!

OK now to the music!!!
Sally Safdie sent me this incredible recording of Bohemian Chanuka. I was prepared to hate it and loved every second!!!

Shalva is an incredible organisation for children and adults with special needs – but it is so much more. Just watch this performance!!

Finally – what else? Maoz Tzur the song of Chanuka!

With much love from Jerusalem, from the two of us and of course from our veranda.

If the media does not inform us we must inform the media
Facebook      Sheila Silver Raviv
Involvement The Yuri Shtern Holistic Center 

Friday, 23 November 2018


23rd November 2018

Black Friday!

Shabbat Shalom dear friends. How are you this week? I almost missed the boat on writing this week, sorry but it may be a short missive.

So much has happened, some wonderful and some depressing.

Gerard Butler is an actor who is very open about his visits to Israel and recently took part in Haim Sabans event for the IDF. In the horrific fires that engulfed many homes in Southern California, Gerard Butler lost his Malibu home, burnt to the ground. I know he wasn't alone, many lost their homes but he received foul messages, Twitters and Facebook, telling him that they were pleased he lost his home because he supported Israel. The world has gone mad – and no I don't think it is new or that it began in the last 2 years.

Airbnb made the decision to drop any rentals over the green line. Now perhaps you think tha tis fair, occupation and all that, but they have not dropped Turkey over Armenia in fact they have not dropped any other country no matter what the regime….. so instead of ranting about Airbnb I choose to introduce you to some other companies that don't have such racist policies!!

Prime Minister Netanyahu may not be my choice, in fact he isn't but this week he showed us all that he is an expert politician, out manouevering Lieberman and then Naftali Bennet. Kudos. The attempt to force new elections was in direct opposition to the PM's decision to enter into yet another "peace" agreement with Hamas. This proved that he is unquestionably the most wily of politicians but does that make him the best?

Some years ago a group of us worked hard to persuade the then Head of the editorial staff of the BBC Malcolm Balen to investigate bias within the British Broadcasting Corporation news department. He agreed and received the funding. Some 200,000 pounds later the report was ready for publication, but it never made it. I happen to know for a fact that it revealed very strong anti-Israel bias, actually that's not correct, it showed very strong pro-Palestinian bias and it was locked away in the deepest archives of the BBC News Dept. Somehow some of it has been leaked. Fascinating reading!  

The world seems to have gone mad. The recurring tale of the scapegoat and the constant blaming of Jews for every ill on the face of the earth is again raising its ugly head, but now it isn't limited to one megalomaniac leader, it isn't in one country, it is everywhere. Sadly the wonder of internet has allowed the perpetrators of evil to reach and influence an entire generation that Jews are evil. Again my dear friend Rabbi Jeremy Rosen explains

So, I told you this would be a short missive. My energy levels are somewhat limited these days and I rested which means it is almost Shabbat. I am thrilled to be able to tell you that the skies are grey and the rain is falling, we so need it to heal the parched earth. I love to take photos of the incredible cloud formations, I will try to upload them onto my website.

Let me leave you with a song or two.
First a medley from the IDF! Yes our soldiers sing songs of Israel.

Shalom Aleichem the beautiful song that welcomes Shabbat in our homes

Have you noticed that in our songs every other word is Peace? We pray for it, sing about it, write about it……………… Many parts of the world honoured 100 years since the end of the Great War, the war to end all wars, and Paul McCartney chose to write a song about a very special event. A football match.  I wish us all peace an end to bickering and fighting, an end to hatred.

Shabbat Shalom, with all our love from our lovely wet veranda


If the media does not inform us we must inform the media
Facebook      Sheila Silver Raviv
Involvement The Yuri Shtern Holistic Center 

Friday, 16 November 2018

California fires, Jerusalem election, Hamas

16th November 2018

Shabbat Shalom dear friends. I hope you are well and that life has been kind to you this week.

Horrific and tragic fires spread through California. This is the season of forest fires in that beleaguered State but I cannot remember anything as dreadful as this year. I know that the popular Californian response to President Trumps statement that someone must be responsible for the fact that the fires ran amok, and perhaps his timing was off, but he is right. Where are the clearings to prevent the fires spreading? Are there sufficient fire stations? Meanwhile, California is mourning its dead and the loss of so many homes.

Southern Israel suffered 500 rocket and missile attacks over a 24+ hour period. I am not sure if you understand what that means because the outrage was minimal. I felt that the media was waiting to pounce on Israel's response, which of course would be deemed disproportionate, but it didn't come. Few mentioned the pinpoint destruction of Hamas sites. One Israeli pilot described his senior officers conversation with a family who lived next to Hamas Radio. The officer spoke in Arabic to ensure that the man's family moved from their home next to the Radio building. Only when they left did the IAF bomb the Radio Station, source of the greatest rhetoric. 

It is difficult to imagine the terror of convincing your children that all will be well when for 24+ hours the "Red Alert" sirens wailed out every few minutes and they know that they have anything from 10-20 seconds to reach the shelter. Schools closed, workplaces closed, people trembled in their homes, most of them already with PTSD after years and years of "Red Alerts". Most stayed home except for a group of high-schoolers who decided to do something. They set off from the South to walk to Jerusalem. Joined by many others en route they achieved great publicity, though the current government didn't really pay heed. In fact Defence Minister Lieberman resigned in disgust and Minister of Education Naftali Bennet is threatening to leave the government if he doesn't get the Defence position!

What I am about to write is fiction, not even one tiny element is true but knowing that rhetoric reigns in the Middle East……. here goes.
Imagine the scenario.
Haniya "Things aren't going so well for me right now, a bit of a rebellion in the ranks and I can't get that money from Qatar"
Bibi "Yeah, not so easy for me either"
Haniya "So what do you think we should do"?
Bibi "I suggest that we kill your problematic guy; you respond with rockets – I'll give you 24 hours; then I make sure your $15,000,000 comes through, Lieberman resigns, you buy tons of Israeli sweets and candies to hand out after declaring a victory and we all get back to routine"
Stranger than fiction or is it?

Check out a new source of information concerning Israel.

The second round of the Jerusalem Mayoral elections took place this week. Zvi and I supported the Independent Candidate Ofer Berkovitch and his party Hitorerut (Awakening) a party that represented every sector of Jerusalem society, Jew, Moslem, Christian, secular, observant or Haredi. The opposing candidate, a very able man, Moshe Lion, had one specific problem, his backers. Minister of the Interior Arieh Deri and the Shas Party declared that if Lion won Deri would have control of Jerusalem (it is actually illegal for a Minister to take part in local elections) Now the elections are over and the democratic process is complete. I for one wish the new Mayor every success and the strength to overcome the infinite challenges a city like Jerusalem presents. Why do I wish success to the man who beat our amazing candidate and actually conducted a rather dirty campaign against Ofer Berkovitch? Because his success is Jerusalem's and that's democracy at work.

Theresa May, the Prime Minister of the UK had a really bad week. Brexit is becoming more and more complex, leaving the Economic Community has become a nightmare, the Minister in charge of Brexit, Dominic Raab, came back from negotiations without a deal and quit, and her Ministers are leaving the ship like……… well a lot of them! Any divorce is tough but imagine trying to divorce 27 spouses with economic ties!!

Now to some good stuff.
Chloe Valdary is a fantastic proponent for Israel. I love, but love her latest video.

Next in line is the best Sodastream advert, in fact the best advertisement I have seen in a very long time. It is green, ecological and clever.

Then to make it a hat-trick of excellent videos - an Israeli company that produces water from air in a small, economically sound, household unit! Talk about save the world.

George Deek is a diplomat in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, nothing special about that. Let me rephrase that – George Deek is a highly acclaimed Diplomat in the Israeli MFA. Not special enough? Pay attention, George Deek is an Israeli Christian, a highly acclaimed Diplomat who has just been chosen as the Israeli Ambassador to Azerbaijan, a Moslem country. If you are on Facebook, find him and congratulate him.

This week's Torah reading is about Jacob, his journey from Beersheva, ladders, his work for Laban who broke his promise to give Jacob his beautiful daughter Rachel in exchange for 7 years work, of his marriage to Leah and then after discovering he had been cheated Jacob married Rachel one week later, promising Laban another 7 years of labour. Leah gave birth to 6 boys and a girl but since Rachel was barren, she gave her handmaiden Bilha to Jacob and 2 more sons were born then Zilpah, Leahs handmaiden gave another 2 sons and then finally Rachel gave birth to Joseph. Honestly, and you couldn't understand why there are arguments in Jewish families!!!! Now, this is where we link to today – Laban gave Jacob (Israel) some sheep which really thrived and God said to Jacob that they would increase as the children of Israel. Today Jacob's sheep have returned  

Another week of being home, although I left home to go for tests in Shaare Zedek and of course to vote. Since the sun was shining I even walked home from the Voting station – don't get excited it's probably about 500 metres! Yet again I was amazed by the genuine multicultural staff and patients and wish that groups coming to Israel would visit hospitals, any hospital, and see the incredible cooperation of staff, from the ancillary staff to the Professors, irrespective of creed. I am really doing much better and each day is a joy as I find more energy. Hopefully we will have Shabbat Dinner with Zvi's cousins Joseph and Rachel Rybak tonight. I hope I will garner the energy because I really want to see them!

The very welcome rains have totally revitalized the View from our Veranda! The clouds take on special shapes and colours and the entire city seems to glisten and shine as the rains clean the dust of summer revealing the sparkling Jerusalem stone. It never fails to take my breath away! The geraniums are yet again proving why they are such a popular plant, scarlet blooms dripping fresh raindrops; the Hibiscus has revived, her leaves green and her spectacular blossoms feeding the tiny Tsufit, her feathers gleaming iridescent black as she hovers from flower to flower; my lemon tree suffered somewhat in the high winds, but just like the friends who bought it for me, the little fruits hung on tight, never letting go. Sage, Thyme, Lemon grass, Mint, Spearmint, Stevia, Lemon Balm, nothing better than picking your own herbs!

What songs fit this week?

The words are very simple. "Peace will come to us and to everyone. To us and to all the world. Peace will come to us, and to everyone. Salaam to us to the whole world. Salaam, Shalom, Salaam".

Hatikva, Israel's National Anthem as you have never heard it before. A Capella on the Light Rail!!!

We have had the distinct honour of meeting both Cantor Izchak Meir Helfgot and Maestro Yitzchak Perlman, two phenomenal and proud Israelis, they join their formidable forces to call us to REJOICE. Yismachu

I wish you a Shabbat Shalom, reason to rejoice and the will to bring about change in our world. Never ever forget the power of one.

With love from Jerusalem and the View from our Veranda.