Monday, 30 March 2009

Kinneret Chaya Boosany Twig 7 years


30th March 2002 – 30th March 2009

There are moments in time which are burned deeply into my memory; times of great loss alongside times of great joy, somehow interlinked. Of all those experiences there is one which stands out, alone in its enormity – the night of March 30th 2002.

Driving back from a visit to Herzliya our friend Orly called

"Where are you?" – the question we all asked of each other when there had been a pigu'a – a terror attack.

"Where was it?" I asked "Where was the pigu'a?"

She went very quiet and her voice broke as she said "In a coffee shop in Tel Aviv and Sheila, Yaffa and Moishes daughter Kinneret was seriously injured, we don't know if she will survive"

The moment we got home I called Yaffa at the hospital who told us the terrible news that Kinneret was burned over 80% of her body and the doctors gave her a minimal chance of survival let alone recovery. That night Zvi's son Amiad took an amulet from a Jerusalem Rabbanit to place under Kinneret's pillow. A Rabbi came to the hospital and as he blessed her he asked the family to change her name from Kinneret to Kinneret Chaya – Kinneret Lives; and so began an incredibly tough, miraculous journey toward the phenomenal woman, mother and wife that is Kinneret Chaya Boosany Twig today.

Kinneret was a slightly aloof, exceptionally beautiful young woman who was searching out her place in the world. When she came back from her travels to the Far East she did a bit of modeling and studied alternative medicine, financing the studies working as a waitress, or "barmanit" in a Tel Aviv café called "My Coffee Shop". The coffee shop did not have a guard, as so many places in Tel Aviv at that time, and no-one suspected the young man who walked in and asked for a cup of coffee. Kinneret walked behind the bar/counter to prepare the coffee when he blew himself up. Nearly 40 people were injured that night and Kinneret was one. As he detonated the explosive belt on his body, the inferno caught the alcoholic drinks behind the bar which burst into an inferno and her frail young body went up in flames. The firemen put out the flames and the paramedics began to clear the injured. Itzik Cohav, a volunteer paramedic, sensed something was missing, he returned to check the site and suddenly, under the overturned bar he saw a small hand. Itzik moved the bar with supernatural strength and found a tiny burned body underneath. To his amazement, Kinneret spoke to him. Itzik carried her to the ambulance and travelled to Ichilov Hospital with her, never leaving her side. It was Itzik who called Kinnerets family.

Days, weeks and months Kinneret Chaya remained in an induced coma, 88 days to be precise. I kept a full diary of all visits and events. The Boosany family rallied round and aunts and uncles, cousins and siblings kept the family going at the hospital, bringing food and love. Zvi and I were honoured to join the family but I can never forget the first time Kinneret Chayas mother Yaffa took me aside and asked me if I wanted to go in to the sterile room and see Kinneret Chaya – who was beginning to come out of the coma. I was terrified but desperate to see this amazing child/woman. As I walked down the corridor in the Sheba Burns Unit I could see a tiny body on a sea of green air cushions atop an improbably high bed. Barely recognizable as a human being, she suddenly turned toward me and smiled a smile that defeats description, I was hooked. I was in love with Kinneret Chaya.

From that day on my diary of a terror survivor was not about the family, nor about my feelings, it became essential that the world know about this amazing woman who has defeated death and even through her pain was able to smile. I recorded her first mouthful of food – gosh I can still see the absolute joy on her face as her Mum peeled a grape and fed her half, chewed carefully as if it were the elixir of life – which it was. One day I came in to the ward and found Kinneret Chaya on her feet "10 steps, I walked 10 steps" she said as she hung on to the arm of her sister Anat. The entire family played its part in Kinneret Chayas recovery. Yaffa, who devotedly slept beside Kinneret Chaya, Moshe who gave love and support, Anat whose determination drove KC on, and Nitzan whose quiet practical help kept everyone sane – and Kinneret Chayas former boyfriend Tal (now Shlom Zalman who ives as a Haredi man) who slept beside her and made her feel as a loved woman. You all helped too, every one of you who sent her a letter, gave her a gift, expressed love to her, but there is one man above all others who helped her put her thoughts into perspective.

Pastor Mike Evans came to visit Kinneret Chaya with us at her parents home, on her first weekend visit from rehab. Zvi, Martin, Yaffa, Moshe and Yaffas sister sister looked on as Mike Evans and his friend Mike Atkins gently asked permission from this traditionally Jewish household to pray for Kinneret Chayas recovery. Very moved the family gave permission and the two Mikes prayed. At the end Mike Evans looked into Kinneret Chayas eyes and said

"Kinneret Chaya, there are two ways to look at everything. To move forward you must turn your scars into stars and bitter into better."

We all gasped and a look of understanding washed over Kinneret Chayas face.

Kinneret Chaya has turned her scars into stars. After many painful operations, much at the hand of surgeons who gave their skill and their hearts to this amazing young woman, Kinneret Chaya is a beautiful woman. Her scars are irrelevant. Kinneret Chaya met the love of her life Amir, seeing him across the synagogue they both attended. Their marriage was joyous and now, as a religious Jewish woman, miracles happened, Kinneret Chaya Boosany Twig is the doting mother of Odaya (thanks to G-d) a beautiful little girl.

I just spoke Kinneret Chayas mother, Yaffa to wish her Mazal Tov on Kinneret Chayas rebirthday. Yaffa said that Kinneret Chaya celebrates on the Hebrew anniversary the 17th of Nissan. KC is out with her husband Amir doing her Pesach shopping. Yaffa proudly told me that Kinneret Chaya is the most amazing mother, with little Odaya on her hip most of the day. She has a warm and welcoming home, a good husband, a beautiful child and life is good.

Whoever claimed that miracles don't happen should look to Kinneret Chaya Boosany Twig who made her own miracles with the support of her incredible family and all of us who love her.

I consider myself one of the luckiest people in the world because I watched the emergence of a glorious flower called Kinneret Chaya Boosany Twig.

Friday, 27 March 2009

Shabbat Shalom from Sheila


27th March 2009.

Shabbat Shalom!

The question on everybody's lips is "Did Israel bomb the arms convoy in Sudan?" Well, of course we did and it is hard to keep quiet about such an excellent achievement! If your country discovered an arms convoy heading for your towns and cities what would you do? The previously used route for the armaments from Iran is by boat to the Sudan where they are offloaded and transported by 17 trucks to the Egyptian border with the Sudan and from there through Egypt and smuggled into Gaza. This was the third attempt. One cargo exploded in Iran but no-one knows the reason; one cargo was offloaded during "Operation Cast Lead" and taken in 17 trucks to the Egyptian border before crossing into Egypt, where, to prevent a diplomatic crisis with Egypt the 17 trucks were blown up by an air strike – that is the one in the news; the Iranian boat subsequently returned loaded with weapons and was sunk in Feb 2009 with all its cargo. So when you are asked "Did Israel blow up the arms convoy in Sudan?" you better believe it!!!

We are constantly distressed by those Israelis who justify the fact that they left Israel by publicly supporting and sustaining the condemnation, debasement and humiliation of Israel. The inevitable distress at the injustice of world condemnation is tempered by the equally public support we received recently from Arab Israelis, mostly Bedouin and Druze, who see Israel as she is not as she is painted.

Nonie Darwish in the Wall Street Journal Likud's party member and hopeful Minister Ayoub Kara

Khaled abu Toameh Israel's Consulate in San Francisco Deputy Consul General Ismail Khaldi

All of these people understand the difference between democracy and theocracy; tyranny and free speech. They know that as Israeli citizens they have the kind of freedom they could not achieve anywhere else. Apartheid indeed! Such misuse of the terrible suffering the real apartheid caused in South Africa and causes today in many Moslem countries is a disgrace to humanity.

Yesterday we celebrated 30 years since the momentous descent of Anwar Sadat from his aeroplane at Ben Gurion Airport. Anwar Sadat met his old counterpart Menachem Begin as both men thought of their countries and not of their egos. Anwar Sadat stood before a crowded Knesset Plenum and declared "Ring the bells for your sons. Tell them that those wars were the last of wars and the end of sorrows." and Menachem Begin, fighter and grandfather said the immortal words "No more wars, no more bloodshed, and no more threats." The "peace" with Egypt is not complete and is rather cold but nonetheless the meeting of those two old warriors gave us breathing space and saved the lives of many a young soldier and billions of dollars in defence. Of late Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has chosen to take an active part in the "Peace Process" but mark my words, his actions are not altruistic, he and his country are more fearful of Hamas and the Moslem Brotherhood than Israel ever need be.

Benjamin Netanyahu is slowly putting together his Government. As usual everyone begins with a declaration of who he will or won't sit with and then when offered a good enough deal it all changes! Now Barak wants in despite sitting with Shas and half of his own party is up in arms that he is sitting with Lieberman. But let's be honest, each will join the government for the sake of a Cabinet seat…excepting Tsippi who has been constant in her moral stand. The prospective government has some strange bedfellows but maybe that is a good thing.

Just as I predicted the cases against the Prime Minister are slowly falling from the agenda and the likelihood of prosecution dims. Yet another case has been dropped for lack of evidence – that of the house on Cremieux Street. "Someone" in power was able to convince those who hold the legal reins of this country to publicly and openly pursue a public officer in an unprecedented manner, turning an entire country upside down with doubt and concern. It is my sincere wish that once Mr. Olmert leaves office he will hunt down those detractors and ensure their prosecution. Incidentally – talking of Mr. Olmert stepping down…. How dare citizens of another country try to change the make up of our Cabinet? Just because I didn't vote Likud does not give me the right to denounce Mr. Netanyahu's choices nor foreigners to do same.

54 politicians were chosen as the world's most beautiful women in public office and Israel had 4 of them!!! Ruhama Avraham, Orli Levy, Pnina Rosenblum and Anastasia Michaeli all made it to the list!!! Brava!!!!,7340,L-3692645,00.html

Pesach (Passover) is approaching faster than my hands can clean!!!!! My big sister Eddie lives in Toronto and has a great friend called Andrea who sends me great jokes. This week she sent me a marvelous joke about the origins of Gefilte Fish which is fished by matzo bait - and I thought you may like my response!

"For the last few years I have broken from the tradition of shallow water fishing for my gefilte fish - I send out my hunter (Zvi) to the large black sea of Mea Shearim (religious neighbourhood) where the Haredim (Ultra-orthodox) produce a secret form of the famous fish through genetic engineering. It is a long roll - about 25 centimetres long - and comes with separate and diagonally sliced, carrot since the fish cannot catch the carrot in even pieces. This genetically changed creature can be either sweet, very sweet or grey carp........ quite a scientific breakthrough.
Incidentally, another excellent modification of this particular scientific sect is the take home cholent (stew). This can be either vegetarian or fleishig (meat) and comes in its own shell - otherwise known as a saucepan of great proportions. When the cholent is finished one takes the pot back to the black-clad owner who then kashers (makes kosher) it anew! The other option is Jerusalem Kugel (a solid mass of vermicelli!)- Lockshen, sultanas, about six litres of oil and......... lots of pepper and sugar. This comes in a similar large pot – which is returned in the same manner! Personally I think this last innovation was an unnecessary addition to the calorific content- but then who am I to hinder progress!!!!!

Today I was highly honoured. I was allowed into the inner sanctum of those who know everything before it happens; who predict the future and change the past; who always knew the facts even if it appeared otherwise; who could run the country, nay the world, far better and with greater ease than those who do so today or indeed at any time…….. Zvi's Parliament! Admittedly they are predominantly journalists but I am always staggered by their confidence in their own powers!!!! They sit in Angel's Coffee shop – yes the one at the back of the petrol station - with nary a glance at the gardens with the fine modern statuary so deep are they in their view of the world and their convictions. I love just sitting and listening – and thanking heaven that they sit in the coffee shop and not in government!! On second thoughts…………….

I wish you a Shabbat Shalom, Gut Shabbes, and the ability to sit in a coffee shop and loudly express your opinions – there are too many places on this earth where they do not have that luxury.

With much love


Thursday, 12 March 2009

Shabbat Shalom from Sheila


12th March 2009

It is now almost 1,000 days since Gilad Schalit was kidnapped by "forces unknown" and taken to Gaza. Four soldiers were injured and Lt. Hanan Barak, 20, and Staff-Sgt. Pavel Slutzker, 20, were killed. Since that time no facet or clause of the Geneva Convention has been honoured. The Red Cross have been unable to discover his whereabouts; Amnesty International have had no success; indeed none of the civil rights of Corporal Gilad Schalit and his family have been taken into consideration during the period in which thousands of complaints about Israeli civil rights breeches have been taken to the United Nations.

Gilad's parents are camped outside the Prime Ministers home in the hope of gaining world attention. The Prime Minister is working and has been working on an exchange but "they" keep changing the rules and drawing out the agony. The Prime Minister does not only have to consider the agony of a boy's parents – he also has to take into consideration the "deal" which will release over a thousand killers back into a society which is bent on our destruction. I pray every day that Gilad's frail frame will come back into the warmth and love of his family very soon, but the price includes Marwan Barghouti and the PM has to face the families of those he ordered killed, or will kill in the future.

George Galloway, the Moseleyite Member of Parliament, decided to bring aid to the value of 1 million pounds in his "Viva Palestina" crusade and break the cruel Israeli "blockade". His attempts were first hampered by the inconsiderate work of the counter-terrorism police in the UK who arrested three of his cohorts before leaving Britain's shores. Then he and his remaining followers, wrapped in Palestinian flags, drove 5,000 miles with their measly amount of aid (Israel sends that in one day!!) only to be stopped at Al Arish, before reaching the Rafah crossing, screaming abuse of further proof of the Israeli blockade. Mr. Galloway was yet again hoisted by his own petard – it was the Egyptian Government who prevented his entering Gaza, not Israel!!! He got through but his publicity stunt was, by then, a damp squib! Maybe he should now call for a boycott of all Egyptian goods!!!

One of the most important aspects of defending Israel to a brainwashed world, is being aware of your facts and not being afraid to state them. The only way to combat the horrific Israel bashing is to face it down, whether in writing or in debate, logically, simply and with facts.

I have an Arab friend who lives in Abu Ghosh. Abu Ghosh is so much more than a signpost on the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem Road; Abu Ghosh is so much more than the best hummous in Israel; Abu Ghosh is how it should be and how I could have been. Abu Ghosh is the living proof that "du Kiyum" – coexistence, really works. Abu Ghosh is an Israeli village of predominantly Moslem Arabs; during the War of Independence in 1948 the residents of Abu Ghosh fought in the fledgling army of Israel and the village as a whole made the decision to be loyal to Israel. Some Jewish Israelis chose to live in Abu Ghosh as some Abu Ghosh residents chose to live in Israeli towns; Christian Arabs in Abu Ghosh are treated with respect too. Their first language is Hebrew and they enjoy all of the rights and respect of any and every Israeli citizen. In other words, it is not only feasible it is possible; it is as it should be. Apartheid indeed! If only our neighbouring countries thought the same way we could all live a so much better life.

Another window of hope in Kinsale, my favourite town in Ireland. My thanks to Tom Carew, an Irishman who works with all his heart for Israel, for sending me this article about the Lord Kingsale Hotel, County Cork, Ireland, which cancelled a performance of 'Seven Jewish Children' due to play at the hotel. When the managers of this 250-year-old hotel in Kinsale, County Cork , realised the truth about this play which demonises Israel and has Anti-Semitic content, they immediately cancelled the performances scheduled to be held in the hotel. This brave decision has meant a loss of revenue and has brought them criticism and cancellations. County Cork is beautiful and the Irish are lovely. Please consider taking a vacation at the hotel and recommending it to your friends by forwarding this email. The email address for information (and to thank them) is info@lordkingsale. com

Rupert Murdoch won an award in the United States. He commented that many people thought he was Jewish, which although he is not, he took as the supreme compliment.

Purim is over and for once it didn't rain! The costumes back in their boxes for another year, the hangovers cured and the children's teeth recovering from the overdose of sweets. A fresh phenomenon is making its yearly appearance as the whiff of cleaning fluids takes over from the cooking aromas in the hallways of Israel! I don't know why but we all start cleaning from Purim until Passover, as if it takes a month to scrub the apartments!! It is a strange Jewish trait that although no-one in their right mind climbs under the beds to eat a meal, we nonetheless deem it essential to Passover preparations to pull out every bed, to empty the clothes out of cupboards and to line shelves which have never seen a crumb, with fresh lining paper. Each year I tell myself it is insane and each year I arrive at Seder Night exhausted but with a sparkling home!!!! It is an exciting time in many ways – as if an entire country is preparing itself for the recounting of our history by cleaning out all the excess.

Nature knows that Passover is on its way. Everything is beginning to blossom, even the desert is blooming after the much awaited rains. Look at this video of the flash floods in Nahal David, near Ein Gedi, after the heavy rains in Jerusalem. Jerusalemites claim that all rain which falls to the west of Kind George Street goes to the Mediterranean Sea and rain which falls to the east of King George Street goes to the Dead Sea.

Tomorrow morning we are going to a concert at the Jerusalem Theatre (thanks Pola) so I already finished my Shabbat cooking. I am not going to bore you with the menu this week, but let it be known that it includes a gorgeous Pumpkin soup – made with great big, huge local pumpkins – which are neatly hacked into any size you wish by the grocer. Gosh I love living in a country where everything is fresh and available.

With much love for a beautiful Shabbat to you all.


Monday, 9 March 2009

Chag Purim Sameach


Chag Purim Sameach!!!!

A friend went to see "Waltz with Bashir" in the Smadar Cinema in the German Colony of Jerusalem. The audience was visibly sinking lower and lower in their seats and the silence at the end was total. Suddenly a man stood up

"I am an Arab and I don't understand. You sink in your seats in shame yet it is clear from the movie and the facts that YOU have nothing to be ashamed of. Why should you be ashamed when you are the attacked not the attacker"

One of these days we will understand that we are the solution, not the problem.

Corrections on the initial details of the excavator attack on Thursday. The attacker was not an Israeli citizen; he came from Beit Hanina, an entirely Christian village just outside Jerusalem until 10 years ago, now 60% Moslem, but had a yellow ID card giving him a work permit. One of the policemen inside the car was in fact an Israeli Arab from Jabel Mukaber – which proves that one should never jump to conclusions. The police car was thumped with the shovel of the digger twice, and then lifted in the air before being dropped to the ground and shoved, by the digger, across the wide road and the central reservation, into a bus. The bus was not empty, as first reported, but filled with youngsters in Purim dress. Miraculously the two policemen suffered just cuts and bruises and none of the children was hurt – although 3 bystanders were taken to hospital suffering from shock. The drivers family claimed it was a simple traffic accident, however, the CCTV cameras – there to catch anyone jumping the lights- caught the whole thing on video! Even the BBC cannot change that news item to blame us – though they tried!

Tonight is Purim, not yet Shushan Purim, but Purim nonetheless - time to read Migilat Esther – the story of Esther! Chag Purim Sameach!

Children go to school dressed in a wild array of costumes. These days very few are dressed as Queen Esther and Mordechai – only in the religious schools and even then few of them!!! The favourite costume this year for small boys is a rather incongruous gorilla!!! Maybe they think that there are enough Haman's out there already? The more one thinks about it the more obvious it becomes that Purim is probably the most relevant festival to today's situation. The more one thinks about it the more obvious it becomes that "they" are still trying to annihilate us and the more miraculous it is that we are still here!

The Adloyada is a huge Purim festival in which the children dress up, there are huge parades and everyone has fun. "Adloyada" I didn't understand what the name meant until I separated the words AD LO YEDA – until he will not know. On Purim one is supposed to become tipsy – not drunk – just tipsy, until one cannot tell the difference between evil and good – between Haman and Mordechai. While outwardly a strange tradition it actually emphasises yet again the Jewish determination not to hate, not even those who would see our destruction. So once one is sufficiently tipsy that one cannot tell the difference between Hamas, ooops I mean Haman and Mordechai one can read the Story of Esther without hate. In synagogues around the world as the Story of Esther is read the children are encouraged to make a noise with a "gregger" or noisemaker every time the name Haman is read, which keeps them listening and on their toes for this once a year opportunity to be rowdy!

Tonight Zvi and I will dress for a tango evening in red and black at the big Purim bash to be held at the Biblelands Museum in aid of the Israel Cancer Research Fund. It looks like great fun!!!

Yesterday was International Women's Day and tomorrow is Shushan Purim when we celebrate that day so long ago when a brave lady called Esther chose to risk her life and reputation to save her people in the city of Shushan, Persia. Shushan Purim is celebrated only in walled cities, although these days' people believe that it is only celebrated in Jerusalem – Jericho was of course also walled but since it is in the PA there are no Jews there to celebrate anyway – Joshua ruined that idea!! Jerusalem children are thrilled at an extra day's holiday from school and the streets are filled with wondrous Disney characters, fairies, gorillas and pirates as they carefully carry the "Mishloach Manot" literally "sent portions" of gifts of sweets and Haman hat shaped cookies to all their friends. Zvi and I received two very special mishloach manot from Elaine and Marc Oppenheimer and from Teresa Strangeland. Both chose to give a donation rather than adding to our waistlines, the Oppenheimers to Meir Panim and Teresa to One Family who then give mishloach manot to those who need it far more than we.

After the disgraceful Swedish demonstrations which led the Swedes to fear for the safety of the Israeli players, the Davis Cup match between Israel and Sweden was played before an empty stadium. The incitement of the Mayor of Malmo Ilmar Reepalu and the sheer hatred expressed by the large Moslem population of Sweden's second city almost caused the games to be scratched – but….ISRAEL BEAT SWEDEN 3-2 IN THE DAVIS CUP AND WE'RE THROUGH TO THE QUARTER FINALS!!!! Swedish newspapers stated that the win was well deserved and the behaviour of the Swedes was a disgrace to that country. In September the Russian team will come to Israel to play for a place in the semi-finals, but whatever happens we must be very proud that our team is one of the eight best national teams in the world.

With love


Thursday, 5 March 2009

Shabbat Shalom from Sheila


5th March 2009.

I knew something was wrong the moment I looked out of the window. The traffic was backed up on the road down to the main intersection which leads to town, Begin Boulevard and the Shopping Mall. The police and ambulance sirens began moments later and it was clear something had happened. Right on the junction an excavator (JCB or Caterpillar) driver ploughed into a police car and lifted it in the air twice and then went for a thankfully empty tour bus. A passing police car and a taxi driver witnessed to the scene and quickly shot the attacker. The two policemen and the attacker were taken to hospital but the attacker died upon arrival thus not giving any information on whosoever sent him on his "Holy" mission.

The excavator driver, who had the Quran open on his knee during the attack, is an Israeli citizen with a blue ID and came from Jabel Mukaber – yet again. I am confident that his family receives all the medical and social services that being an Israeli offers and he obviously worked and had a good salary as a heavy vehicle driver. How can we prevent such actions if one has no means of punishment? Hillary doesn't want us to be "meanies" and punish his family by pulling down or closing their home but if that is unacceptable what does she suggest? How does one combat the mentality which declared joy in the death of ones son as a martyr? I am equally confident that the headlines in the worlds press will read "ARMED POLICE AND TAXI DRIVER SHOOT PALESTINIAN WORKER".

On the subject of Hillary and the press - Why is it unacceptable for Israel to build houses on disputed territory in established centres of population surrounded by nothingness, but acceptable for Arabs to do same? Issawiya is part of Israel, the residents get all their services from the Jerusalem Municipality yet they build vast quantities of housing (funded by the Saudis) which lies empty awaiting the influx of Palestinians from the PA to ensure the demographic annihilation of Israel.

We often discuss the fact that the Palestinians take the attention and publicity of the world, through an incessant campaign of hatred against Israel, and take it away from those who really need the world to plead their case. The Palestinians take aid money which could feed entire countries in Africa and squander it on strengthening their hate machine. Maybe Hillary would speak differently if she read the table below (BMJ is British Medical Journal) but then she probably has these figures at her fingertips and for some reason continues to demand "painful concessions" from Israel and doling out rewards to the Palestinians.

We still don't have a government!!! Bibi is still talking to Udi and cajoling Tsippi and the current state of affairs is that Udi (Ehud Barak) wants in but his party wants out and Tsippi wants out but her party wants in. Eli won't let Yvette take any position which touches on religion (Interior, Justice, Education) and Yvette will only be in if Danny (Freedman) continues as Justice Minister. In the meantime Shimon is trying to make everyone see sense and keep Dalia as the Speaker of the Knesset. Got it?

Yesterday I met with Tom Gross whose very telling article was published in the WSJ this week. Tom's article, in which he quotes our Kinneret Chaya, says that Israel cannot continue making concessions and continue to be the only one to make concessions when all we really want is for the Palestinian Authority to bring forth an Anwar Sadat to make peace. His simple truth brought forth a spate of hateful talkbacks which proliferate an inability to accept the possibility of another truth. The anti-Semitism and anti-Israel viewpoint is reaching its height and over the past few years in which the air was ripe, it has been carefully created by spin. Sitting in a wonderful little French Café on Keren Kayemet Street near the Wolfson Buildings (where they make the best brioche imaginable) Tom and I commented on the fact that today's journalists do not write the news, they create it. Today a journalist writes his opinion over and over again until it becomes the truth. The trouble is that ordinary folk can see that this isn't the truth yet are powerless to stop the flow of propaganda. There are a few good guys who stand up to the pressure from editors, Tom is one, Krauthammer, Pipes and Canadas Rosie di Manno and Christy Blatchford are all willing to go against the stream, or torrent, in the name of accuracy, honesty and truth.

Sunday was St. David's Day –the Welsh saints day. I set off in a terrible rainstorm for Netanya – about one and a half hours drive from Jerusalem for a big Welsh Ex-Pats get together. I spent the afternoon with my delightful cousins Jean and Stuart before we headed off to the King Solomon Hotel and the Welsh evening. As we entered the hotel I admit being a little scared of seeing people whose memories of me were 40 years old, but I should have remembered the "Welcome in the Valleys"! Gerald Rapport met us sporting a marvelous Welsh dragon sweater and showed us to our dining-room which was bedecked with Welsh flags and green and red bunting. The faces looking back at me were as excited as I!!! Suddenly the photo of my Girl Guide troop began to come to life and the former seats of Cyncoed Shule filled the room. Les and Viv Greenbaum have not changed in 40 years – which is quite astonishing! It is amazing how we all seemed to fit together without effort – very different people from the ones we used to be, with a width of experience that we would never have known had we stayed in Wales. Faces lit up as Gerald began to quote a Welsh language poem from grade 3 and Rochelle and Brenda Samuels (I don't even know their married names) acted out two stories from Dylan Thomas' "Miscellany". Finally amid laughter, we all tried to remember the words to the Welsh National Anthem and Sospan Fach. What fun and how amazing that so many of us from that tiny community chose to come to Israel – a country the size of Wales without the rain and the sheep!!! Not one of us expressed any regrets – life here is too fulfilling to go back!

The first freesias are blooming on my veranda, beside the ixia and muscari. I have a feeling that we will suffer a sandstorm soon since I already began my Passover cleaning and today the veranda got a thorough washing to clean away winter. It is guaranteed that every time I get everything sparkling - the Sahara pays a visit!!!!

With love from Jerusalem, the heart of our world, a heart which on days like today skips a pulse but then beats on, stronger than ever. Sheila