Thursday, 25 June 2009

Shabbat Shalom from Sheila

25th June 2009.

Shabbat Shalom!

Do not make the mistake of believing that Iran is a long way away from where you live and their political instability is a Middle East problem. Iran our problem; Iran is your problem; Iran is the embodiment of what is going wrong in the world.

A young woman was shot before the cameras and the American President is sad but it just isn't enough. The riots have nothing to do with whether Mousavi or Ahmedinejad won the elections – they are both evil and they are both puppets of the Ayatollahs. When one listens to the reason and logic of the Shah's son Reza Pahlavi in this interview one recognises that these riots express a frustration which has nothing to do with voting or politics. The Iranian people lived in relative freedom, before James Earl Carter deposed the Shah and introduced the Ayatollahs to the infinite corruption of absolute power. The people of Iran want their freedom back; freedom of action, freedom of speech, freedom of dress; freedom for women and most of all freedom of prayer. If they succeed then maybe it is the tiny window of light in a very long tunnel which may be the turning point of Islamo-facism in this world.

While horrors are committed all over the globe, President Obama, through Hillary Clinton and George Mitchell, has demanded the halt of all building over the green line, especially in Jerusalem; Jewish building that is. Even supposed "friends" of Israel, Berlosconi of Italy and Sarkozy of France join the chorus. No-one has criticized illegal Arab building in Jerusalem, which receives full (Jewish) Municipal services. This from a world that accused Israel of disproportionate response!

See Yaacov Kirschen's view!

Ben Caspit and Ben-Dror Yemini wrote a brilliant article in the Israeli newspaper Ma'ariv, commenting on the disparity in judgment of Israel and of the Moslem world; the article is called "Where is Everyone?" talking of the lack of condemnation of the Iranian situation. Here is a small taste, and a link to what I believe to be an accurate translation from the Hebrew.

Now of all times, when the Basij hooligans have begun to slaughter innocent civilians in the city squares of Tehran? Aren't they connected to the Internet? Don't they have YouTube? Has a terrible virus struck down their computer? Have their justice glands been removed in a complicated surgical procedure? How can it be that when a Jew kills a Muslim, the entire world boils, and when extremist Islam slaughters its citizens, whose sole sin is the aspiration to freedom, the world is silent?

Our dear friend Canon Andrew White sadly reported the deaths of two British hostages in Iraq, despite his tireless, 2 year, fight for their freedom. . His tragic report emphasised the plight of Cpl. Gilad Schalit who was kidnapped and taken to Gaza in a bloody attack three years ago today. Three years of pain for his family, three years of intense political and diplomatic efforts on Israel's part and he is still held in unknown conditions, unknown danger. Neither the Red Cross nor Amnesty has seen him despite the clear breech of the Geneva Convention. Shame on them that it goes unremarked, again the expectations are disparate and the results a disgrace.

Dr. Yoram Blachar, longstanding President of the Israeli Medical Association, was appointed as President of the World Medical Association. A petition was created to depose him because he is an Israeli. The petition to depose him is a test case for an Israeli since he is due to end his term in October. Support Dr. Blachar, the IMA and

Israeli medicine. Please sign and send this letter on to anyone you feel might be interested in expressing support. It cannot be that an Israeli is hounded from his position for being an Israeli – the country whose contribution to medical research far exceeds proportion. Racism, pure racism.

Today democracy worked. The correct decision was taken at the Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency when Natan Scharansky (who Dr. Len Cole describes as "the tallest short man he knows") was chosen as the new Chairman of the Jewish Agency. There were attempts to scupper his election, for all the wrong reasons. I believe that he is the right man in the right place, respected and respectable, the epitome of everything the Jewish Agency stands for. His accent in English is irrelevant since both his heart and his brain are in the right place and he has paid his dues. Mazal Tov Mr. Scharansky; from Anatoly to Natan- from the gulag of Siberia to leader of the Jewish world.

G'day Shalom Salaam Israel On Tuesday evening we had the honour of attending the grand dinner of the Australia Israel Cultural Exchange . Albert Dadon is the driving force behind the AICE, and with our lovely friends Paul and Vivienne Zimmet and the inimitable Saul Same, we experienced the warmth which poured forth from the Australian politicians and artistes. Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Senator Peter Costello exuded understanding and love toward the Jewish State. They are proud that Australia was the first YES vote in the UN for Resolution 181 on November 29th 1947 - the founding of the State of Israel. Time and again it is the Australians who stand up for democracy and justice, including self-criticism for what happened to their own indigenous peoples. It was a joy to sit and listen to politicians who had nothing to gain from their kind words other than ensuring their own integrity. Senator Guy Barnett of Tasmania was particularly moved by the story of the ANZAC brigade in Beersheba and their fight against the Ottoman Empire.,25197,22681087-25209,00.html

Those of you in the New York area should take note of a very important symposium in which Dr. Leonard Cole will participate. The symposium on Terror Medicine and Security to be held on July 15th at the UMDNJ- New Jersey Dental School

So that was my week! No time for the Shouk! To tell the truth I wasn't too keen to go anywhere without air-conditioning as the temperature soared. We celebrated our anniversary several times!!! We were taken to a Sarit Haddad concert in Jerusalem by Rosa and Bernardo Romanowsky ; Zvi took me for a romantic sushi meal in Jerusalem's gorgeous German Colony and then last night we went for Italian with Saul Same and his sister Sarah. Saul is such an amazing man, in his gentle and kind manner he has ensured the Australia-Israel connection is solid and endless.

I wish you all a fine and peaceful weekend. Shabbat Shalom and much love from Jerusalem, the incredibly beautiful and much maligned capital of Israel – heart of our world.


Friday, 19 June 2009

Shabbat Shalom from Sheila


Shabbat Shalom!

What a wonderful week filled with friends and family – which I will tell you about later, but first to the current "situation".

I believe that Prime Minister Netanyahu's speech contained several extremely important points, including the status of Jerusalem, settlement activity etc, but two points stood out above all others. One was to right the awful assumption that Israel was formed as a result of the Holocaust. Yes, we did rise as a Phoenix from the ashes of the ovens, but Israel was well on its way to establishment already and had been on our lips, in prayer and longing, for 2,000 years. The second point emphasised was that it was high time the Arabs/Palestinians absorbed their supposed refugees since Israel had successfully absorbed all 800,000+ refugees from Arab countries into tiny Israel.

Jimmy Carter's dream of a democratic Middle East took another blow this week. 30 years after he successfully backed the deposing of the Shah of Iran elections were held in that country. Ahmedinejad was re-elected – apparently by a huge majority of about 90% and the country is in uproar. Ordinary people are horrified at the outcome and declare foul play….not that the opposition party leader is any better than Ahmedinejad! Terrible riots in the street and policemen attacked after beating citizens have been going on all week Finally, in an act of ultimate democracy Ayatollah Humeini announced that Musavi and his followers can either accept the vote or leave the country!!!!

30 years since Jimmy Carter brought us Islamic terrorism with unlimited funds. This week, as President Obamas advisor on Middle Eastern Affairs, he went to Gaza and apparently there was an attempt to blow him sky-high!

Former US Ambassador to Israel and proponent of any peace plan with the Palestinians, Dr. Martin Indyk, has just written a book. Like Dennis Ross before him he admits that Israel did everything possible to make peace and the Palestinians are not interested partners to any plan. He claims that he suffered from the same delusions as President Clinton and the Bushes, before President Obama – he and they are blinded by naïveté- the belief that others want peace as much as you do.

This week Jerusalem has seen the WZO Conference and many important decisions were made, hopefully including the decision to give full voting rights to the hard- working organizations within the WZO, such as Maccabiah and WIZO. Our friends from Keren Hayesod are now in Tel Aviv, about to come to Jerusalem for their conference and next week is the Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency. All of these organizations have great importance within the Jewish World and the wisdom of their decisions is paramount.

Jill and I have done all the shouks!!! We went to Shouk Ramle on Monday, filled with happy shoppers after bargains, we were in the Arab Shouk of the Old City on Tuesday and then yesterday we went to Mahane Yehuda. Each shouk (market) has its own character and personality.

Shouk Ramle is filled with all kinds of knick-knacks that one doesn't need but buys anyway because it is cheap, interspersed with marvelous fabrics and household utensils;

The Old City Arab Shouk has a phenomenal charm all of its own as one goes down the uneven, natural stone steps, which have strange little stone slopes to allow the handcarts to pass with ease. As one goes further into the shouk the shops seem almost to touch each other as the passageways become so narrow. We went down and down until we came to see our friend Ayman Jwalis, at 45 David Street, just before you turn right onto Kotel Street! I swear that Ayman has everything in his aptly named "Garden of Eden" Bazaar. Brightly coloured lamps, Hebron Glass flasks, jewellery, stones, Armenian ceramics….it is like walking into Aladdins Cave!!! I haven't been there for ages because I found the walk too difficult but Jill was amazed at the ease with which I raced down! I love the freedom of movement that is Jerusalem – a thousand languages and thousand different faces – Imams, priests, Rabbis and Monks mixing with the myriad of happy shoppers, all melding together.

Finally, saving the best for last - Mahane Yehuda. I love watching Jill's delight as we encounter the fruit market and see the phenomenal array of luscious fruits and vegetables – shining as if just washed from the tree or ground. We turned left and walked down to Tsidkiyahus pickle and salad stand full of delicious mouth-watering Middle Eastern delights and every conceivable variety of olive. Right at the top are the caramelized garlic cloves…. to die for!!! Of course I need to taste each type of olive before deciding which ones to take home! Opposite Tsidkyahus is a marvelous spice store – huge mountains of fine spices and at least thirty types of herb tisanes. Mahane Yehuda satisfies all ones senses simultaneously – the heady aroma of the spices; the bright colours of the fruits and vegetables; the sound of the costermongers shouting and the ripostes of the customers; everybody "feeling" the fruit and veg before buying and then we go to the coffee shop for the heavenly taste of a well deserved "Hafuch Chazak" a strong frothy, delicious, upside down coffee.

Probably top of my list this week was going into the Old City on Tuesday night for the last night of the illuminations. In truth the illuminations were a terrible disappointment but as we walked in through the Jaffa Gate we stopped for a delicious falafel then headed down through the market, turned left toward the Christian Quarter, right into the Cardo and up through the Jewish Quarter to the arches of the Armenian Quarter and finally through the new Mamilla Shopping Arcade. I was overcome with joy to see hundreds, but hundreds of thousands of people wandering in the Old City at night. A sea of smiling faces greeted us whatever way we turned and although we left at 9:30 there were more and more still arriving – tourists, Tel Avivim, Jerusalemites (including many Jerusalem arabs) in a steady solid mass. Such joy!

Shalom Aleichem – This video is what Erev Shabbat is all about. I received it from our beautiful friend Rosa who encompasses all there is in a good Jewish woman and wishing Berele a healthy Shabbat

Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!

Shabbat Shalom

With much love from Jerusalem, heart and soul of our world


Monday, 15 June 2009

Prime Minister speech at Bar Illan June 15th 2009

Herewith the much awaited speech from Prime Minister Netanyahu which to a large degree responds to President Obamas Cairo speech. The speech is strong, expresses Israel's essential position on security and conditions for a viable Palestinian State- allowing Israel survival in a viable Jewish State.
Kil ha Kavod

Honored guests,

Citizens of Israel.

Peace has always been our people’s most ardent desire. Our prophets gave the world the vision of peace, we greet one another with wishes of peace, and our prayers conclude with the word peace.

We are gathered this evening in an institution named for two pioneers of peace, Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat, and we share in their vision.

Two and half months ago, I took the oath of office as the Prime Minister of Israel. I pledged to establish a national unity government – and I did. I believed and I still believe that unity was essential for us now more than ever as we face three immense challenges – the Iranian threat, the economic crisis, and the advancement of peace.

The Iranian threat looms large before us, as was further demonstrated yesterday. The greatest danger confronting Israel, the Middle East, the entire world and human race, is the nexus between radical Islam and nuclear weapons. I discussed this issue with President Obama during my recent visit to Washington, and I will raise it again in my meetings next week with European leaders. For years, I have been working tirelessly to forge an international alliance to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

Confronting a global economic crisis, the government acted swiftly to stabilize Israel’s economy. We passed a two year budget in the government – and the Knesset will soon approve it.

And the third challenge, so exceedingly important, is the advancement of peace. I also spoke about this with President Obama, and I fully support the idea of a regional peace that he is leading.

I share the President’s desire to bring about a new era of reconciliation in our region. To this end, I met with President Mubarak in Egypt, and King Abdullah in Jordan, to elicit the support of these leaders in expanding the circle of peace in our region.

I turn to all Arab leaders tonight and I say: “Let us meet. Let us speak of peace and let us make peace. I am ready to meet with you at any time. I am willing to go to Damascus, to Riyadh, to Beirut, to any place- including Jerusalem.

I call on the Arab countries to cooperate with the Palestinians and with us to advance an economic peace. An economic peace is not a substitute for a political peace, but an important element to achieving it. Together, we can undertake projects to overcome the scarcities of our region, like water desalination or to maximize its advantages, like developing solar energy, or laying gas and petroleum lines, and transportation links between Asia, Africa and Europe.

The economic success of the Gulf States has impressed us all and it has impressed me. I call on the talented entrepreneurs of the Arab world to come and invest here and to assist the Palestinians – and us – in spurring the economy.

Together, we can develop industrial areas that will generate thousands of jobs and create tourist sites that will attract millions of visitors eager to walk in the footsteps of history – in Nazareth and in Bethlehem, around the walls of Jericho and the walls of Jerusalem, on the banks of the Sea of Galilee and the baptismal site of the Jordan.

There is an enormous potential for archeological tourism, if we can only learn to cooperate and to develop it.

I turn to you, our Palestinian neighbors, led by the Palestinian Authority, and I say: Let’s begin
negotiations immediately without preconditions.

Israel is obligated by its international commitments and expects all parties to keep their commitments.

We want to live with you in peace, as good neighbors. We want our children and your children to never again experience war: that parents, brothers and sisters will never again know the agony of losing loved ones in battle; that our children will be able to dream of a better future and realize that dream; and that together we will invest our energies in plowshares and pruning hooks, not swords and spears.

I know the face of war. I have experienced battle. I lost close friends, I lost a brother. I have seen the pain of bereaved families. I do not want war. No one in Israel wants war.

If we join hands and work together for peace, there is no limit to the development and prosperity we can achieve for our two peoples – in the economy, agriculture, trade, tourism and education - most importantly, in providing our youth a better world in which to live, a life full of tranquility, creativity, opportunity and hope.

If the advantages of peace are so evident, we must ask ourselves why peace remains so remote, even as our hand remains outstretched to peace? Why has this conflict continued for more than sixty years?

In order to bring an end to the conflict, we must give an honest and forthright answer to the question: What is the root of the conflict?

In his speech to the first Zionist Conference in Basel, the founder of the Zionist movement, Theodore Herzl, said about the Jewish national home “This idea is so big that we must speak of it only in the simplest terms.” Today, I will speak about the immense challenge of peace in the simplest words possible.

Even as we look toward the horizon, we must be firmly connected to reality, to the truth. And the simple truth is that the root of the conflict was, and remains, the refusal to recognize the right of the Jewish people to a state of their own, in their historic homeland.

In 1947, when the United Nations proposed the partition plan of a Jewish state and an Arab state, the entire Arab world rejected the resolution. The Jewish community, by contrast, welcomed it by dancing and rejoicing.

The Arabs rejected any Jewish state, in any borders.

Those who think that the continued enmity toward Israel is a product of our presence in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, is confusing cause and consequence.

The attacks against us began in the 1920s, escalated into a comprehensive attack in 1948 with the declaration of Israel’s independence, continued with the fedayeen attacks in the 1950s, and climaxed in 1967, on the eve of the six-day war, in an attempt to tighten a noose around the neck of the State of Israel.

All this occurred during the fifty years before a single Israeli soldier ever set foot in Judea and Samaria .

Fortunately, Egypt and Jordan left this circle of enmity. The signing of peace treaties have brought about an end to their claims against Israel, an end to the conflict. But to our regret, this is not the case with the Palestinians. The closer we get to an agreement with them, the further they retreat and raise demands that are inconsistent with a true desire to end the conflict.

Many good people have told us that withdrawal from territories is the key to peace with the Palestinians. Well, we withdrew. But the fact is that every withdrawal was met with massive waves of terror, by suicide bombers and thousands of missiles.

We tried to withdraw with an agreement and without an agreement. We tried a partial withdrawal and a full withdrawal. In 2000 and again last year, Israel proposed an almost total withdrawal in exchange for an end to the conflict, and twice our offers were rejected.

We evacuated every last inch of the Gaza strip, we uprooted tens of settlements and evicted thousands of Israelis from their homes, and in response, we received a hail of missiles on our cities, towns and children.

The claim that territorial withdrawals will bring peace with the Palestinians, or at least advance peace, has up till now not stood the test of reality.

In addition to this, Hamas in the south, like Hezbollah in the north, repeatedly proclaims their commitment to “liberate” the Israeli cities of Ashkelon, Beersheba, Acre and Haifa.

Territorial withdrawals have not lessened the hatred, and to our regret, Palestinian moderates are not yet ready to say the simple words: Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people, and it will stay that way.

Achieving peace will require courage and candor from both sides, and not only from the Israeli side.

The Palestinian leadership must arise and say: “Enough of this conflict. We recognize the right of the Jewish people to a state of their own in this land, and we are prepared to live beside you in true peace.”

I am yearning for that moment, for when Palestinian leaders say those words to our people and to their people, then a path will be opened to resolving all the problems between our peoples, no matter how complex they may be.

Therefore, a fundamental prerequisite for ending the conflict is a public, binding and unequivocal Palestinian recognition of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people.

To vest this declaration with practical meaning, there must also be a clear understanding that the Palestinian refugee problem will be resolved outside Israel’s borders. For it is clear that any demand for resettling Palestinian refugees within Israel undermines Israel’s continued existence as the state of the Jewish people.

The Palestinian refugee problem must be solved, and it can be solved, as we ourselves proved in a similar situation. Tiny Israel successfully absorbed tens of thousands of Jewish refugees who left their homes and belongings in Arab countries.

Therefore, justice and logic demand that the Palestinian refugee problem be solved outside Israel’s borders. On this point, there is a broad national consensus. I believe that with goodwill and international investment, this humanitarian problem can be permanently resolved.

So far I have spoken about the need for Palestinians to recognize our rights. In am moment, I will speak openly about our need to recognize their rights.

But let me first say that the connection between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel has lasted for more than 3500 years. Judea and Samaria, the places where Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, David and Solomon, and Isaiah and Jeremiah lived, are not alien to us. This is the land of our forefathers.

The right of the Jewish people to a state in the land of Israel does not derive from the catastrophes that have plagued our people. True, for 2000 years the Jewish people suffered expulsions, pogroms, blood libels, and massacres which culminated in a Holocaust - a suffering which has no parallel in human history.

There are those who say that if the Holocaust had not occurred, the state of Israel would never have been established. But I say that if the state of Israel would have been established earlier, the Holocaust would not have occurred.

This tragic history of powerlessness explains why the Jewish people need a sovereign power of self-defense.

But our right to build our sovereign state here, in the land of Israel, arises from one simple fact: this is the homeland of the Jewish people, this is where our identity was forged.

As Israel’s first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion proclaimed in Israel’s Declaration of Independence: “The Jewish people arose in the land of Israel and it was here that its spiritual, religious and political character was shaped. Here they attained their sovereignty, and here they bequeathed to the world their national and cultural treasures, and the most eternal of books.”

But we must also tell the truth in its entirety: within this homeland lives a large Palestinian community. We do not want to rule over them, we do not want to govern their lives, we do not want to impose either our flag or our culture on them.

In my vision of peace, in this small land of ours, two peoples live freely, side-by-side, in amity and mutual respect. Each will have its own flag, its own national anthem, its own government. Neither will threaten the security or survival of the other.

These two realities – our connection to the land of Israel, and the Palestinian population living within it – have created deep divisions in Israeli society. But the truth is that we have much more that unites us than divides us.

I have come tonight to give expression to that unity, and to the principles of peace and security on which there is broad agreement within Israeli society. These are the principles that guide our policy.

This policy must take into account the international situation that has recently developed. We must recognize this reality and at the same time stand firmly on those principles essential for Israel.

I have already stressed the first principle – recognition. Palestinians must clearly and unambiguously recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish people. The second principle is: demilitarization. The territory under Palestinian control must be demilitarized with ironclad security provisions for Israel.

Without these two conditions, there is a real danger that an armed Palestinian state would emerge that would become another terrorist base against the Jewish state, such as the one in Gaza.

We don’t want Kassam rockets on Petach Tikva, Grad rockets on Tel Aviv, or missiles on Ben-Gurion airport. We want peace.

In order to achieve peace, we must ensure that Palestinians will not be able to import missiles into their territory, to field an army, to close their airspace to us, or to make pacts with the likes of Hezbollah and Iran. On this point as well, there is wide consensus within Israel.

It is impossible to expect us to agree in advance to the principle of a Palestinian state without assurances that this state will be demilitarized.

On a matter so critical to the existence of Israel, we must first have our security needs addressed.

Therefore, today we ask our friends in the international community, led by the United States, for what is critical to the security of Israel: Clear commitments that in a future peace agreement, the territory controlled by the Palestinians will be demilitarized: namely, without an army, without control of its airspace, and with effective security measures to prevent weapons smuggling into the territory – real monitoring, and not what occurs in Gaza today. And obviously, the Palestinians will not be able to forge military pacts.

Without this, sooner or later, these territories will become another Hamastan. And that we cannot accept.

I told President Obama when I was in Washington that if we could agree on the substance, then the terminology would not pose a problem.

And here is the substance that I now state clearly:

If we receive this guarantee regarding demilitirization and Israel’s security needs, and if the Palestinians recognize Israel as the State of the Jewish people, then we will be ready in a future peace agreement to reach a solution where a demilitarized Palestinian state exists alongside the Jewish state.

Regarding the remaining important issues that will be discussed as part of the final settlement, my positions are known: Israel needs defensible borders, and Jerusalem must remain the united capital of Israel with continued religious freedom for all faiths.

The territorial question will be discussed as part of the final peace agreement. In the meantime, we have no intention of building new settlements or of expropriating additional land for existing settlements.

But there is a need to enable the residents to live normal lives, to allow mothers and fathers to raise their children like families elsewhere. The settlers are neither the enemies of the people nor the enemies of peace. Rather, they are an integral part of our people, a principled, pioneering and Zionist public.

Unity among us is essential and will help us achieve reconciliation with our neighbors. That reconciliation must already begin by altering existing realities. I believe that a strong Palestinian economy will strengthen peace.

If the Palestinians turn toward peace – in fighting terror, in strengthening governance and the rule of law, in educating their children for peace and in stopping incitement against Israel - we will do our part in making every effort to facilitate freedom of movement and access, and to enable them to develop their economy. All of this will help us advance a peace treaty between us.

Above all else, the Palestinians must decide between the path of peace and the path of Hamas. The Palestinian Authority will have to establish the rule of law in Gaza and overcome Hamas. Israel will not sit at the negotiating table with terrorists who seek their destruction.

Hamas will not even allow the Red Cross to visit our kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit, who has spent three years in captivity, cut off from his parents, his family and his people. We are committed to bringing him home, healthy and safe.

With a Palestinian leadership committed to peace, with the active participation of the Arab world, and the support of the United States and the international community, there is no reason why we cannot achieve a breakthrough to peace.

Our people have already proven that we can do the impossible. Over the past 61 years, while constantly defending our existence, we have performed wonders.

Our microchips are powering the world’s computers. Our medicines are treating diseases once considered incurable. Our drip irrigation is bringing arid lands back to life across the globe. And Israeli scientists are expanding the boundaries of human knowledge.

If only our neighbors would respond to our call – peace too will be in our reach.

I call on the leaders of the Arab world and on the Palestinian leadership, let us continue together on the path of Menahem Begin and Anwar Sadat, Yitzhak Rabin and King Hussein. Let us realize the vision of the prophet Isaiah, who in Jerusalem 2700 years ago said: “nations shall not lift up sword against nation, and they shall learn war no more.”

With God’s help, we will know no more war. We will know peace.


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Thursday, 11 June 2009

Shabbat Shalom from Sheila


11th June 2009.

Shabbat Shalom!

James Wenneker Von Brunn, an 88 year old man who was a known white supremacist and clear anti-Semite, walked into the Washington Holocaust Memorial carrying a copy of the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion", with the intention of shooting Jews but was stopped by security guard Stephen Tyrone Johns who halted his potential murderous spree and died from wounds sustained in his heroic stand.

I have been thinking and thinking of President Obama's speech in Cairo – what should be read into it? Was he trying to bring Arabs in to gain control or to give control? I saw no problem in his "Salaam Aleikem" greeting since it is traditional to greet the host country in its own language – in Israel too and had he said Shalom Haverim as another President did we would all have been ecstatic! What the President nor his advisors seem to grasp, however, that they are not talking to a coherent society when talking to the Arab States – each will read something else into his words; some will approve, some disapprove, some rebel and some mock. There is an entity called the Arab World but it consists of many different types of society and vastly different levels of acceptance of any outside (non-Moslem) interference. Jordan is ruled by the Bedouin Hashemites who fear and despise the Palestinian minority who were part of their inheritance when given the country as part of the 2 State solution. Egypt is a Moslem country which is trying to move forward and control the extremism which brought forth the Moslem Brotherhood, father organization to Al Quaeeda, Hezb-Allah, Hamas and so on. They are also fearful of their ever increasing extremist element. Saudia, Oman, Qatar etc are elitist societies with rulers and serfs – where none of the serfs is given citizenship and has to leave after two years….. and all of them despise the Palestinians (an amalgam of immigrants from many Arab countries) for their inability to rise above anything – but use them as the only cohesive factor in their world – at least the only cohesive factor other than disposing of Israel the ulcerating wound on their Islamic map. Only when this is understood can the US possibly achieve recognition in this region by anyone other than Israel – her natural, essential, strategic, moral, religious, democratic and emotional partner.

The attempted attack this week on the Gaza crossing where disaster was avoided by the diligence of the IDF border patrols who discovered men, horses and wagons with explosive material set to detonate and kill many soldiers. By using helicopters to detonate the explosives far from those soldiers many lives were saved. The helicopters were bought from the US by Israel and now the American President has denied Israel's request to purchase more helicopters for just such situations because "Israel's use of helicopters in Gaza is in question". Even the Brits didn't bat an eyelid at the fact that these terrorists were prepared to blow up horses laden with explosives in their evil quest – animal lovers maybe but when it comes ot the Palestinians everything is acceptable if it is against Israel.

In the recent elections the Lebanese have finally succeeded in wresting back control from Hezb-Allah and Syria. Saad Hariri, son of Rafik Hariri the former Prime Minister who was brutally assassinated by the pro-Syrian faction with his anti-Syrian coalition won 72 out of 128 parliamentary seats. General Michel Amoun, a Maronite Christian, won 32 seats – a small but significant showing for the Christians in a formerly Christian country.

Yet again that old canard of "stop the settlements" is raising its ugly head to the top of the pile of unthinkable demands upon Israel. Only those who have been here, seen the situation, understood our enemies and recognize our contribution can accept the inanity of such demands. I talk not of illegal outposts which are there to incite and which the Israeli government is also against, I am talking of beautiful towns such as Maaleh Adumim, Efrat, Ariel, Pisgat Zeev, Givat Zeev, built upon empty land, which serve as dormitory towns for the big cities and often have light industry which provides work for the local Arab community. I become so angry when Arabs build freely on Israeli land and that is considered a natural right whereas if a Jew builds on Arab land it is considered a denial of human rights! I do not understand why it is the most colonialist of countries which demand Israel "give back" land when they sit on land taken in former wars without any shame!!!

Jill is here!!!! After visiting her beloved mentor Katy on Kibbutz Be'erot Yitzchak Rachel and I brought her back to Jerusalem where she fitted into life as if she had never left. Shouk Ramle, Talpiot and of course to Givat Zeev and Rachel's home to play with Yosef, Talia, Amit and Ayalah – our grandchildren who, even those too little to remember her, declare their love of "Jilly". The ease with which Jill fits back into Jerusalem and her friendships is because she loves this amazing City, understands its significance in her life and in the lives of all Jews, still marvels at each sunrise and sunset and the changing colours and moods which seems so evident. While recognising the deep significance of the Kotel and the Old City she equally loves the fun side of coffee shops, restaurants, shopping malls and open markets. Jill sees and enjoys every aspect because in truth – this is her home!

Life is good, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem Congress is happening this week, the Jewish Agency Board of Governors and the Keren Haysod Conference next week and we will see many friends from all over the world as we did 13 years ago when Zvi and I married on the 23rd of June so that our dearest friends from all over ht world could be with us as we stood under the chuppah (canopy) of Zvi's tallit (prayer shawl) under the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem, having signed the Ketuba (marriage contract) in the home of Alan and Bonnie Cohen. The 7 blessings wer sung by our loved ones – and "Tsemed Reim" Benny and Yisrael gave us the performance of their lives for our wedding gift.

Gosh we are lucky people – I thank G-d every day for giving us amazing children – albeit spread all over the world- fabulous grandchildren, great friends and for allowing us to be here in the heart of the entire world, in Jerusalem, City of Gold.

Shabbat Shalom and love from Jerusalem. My PS is worth reading – and very true!!!


My thanks to our friend Frida Albaranes for sending me this message which as she said "so suits your readers"

Israel is the only country in the world where one has difficulty digging a cellar without hitting ancient archaeological artefacts.

Israel is the only country in the world that introduces applications of high-tech gadgets and devices, such as printers in banks that print out your statement on demand, years ahead of the United States and decades ahead of Europe;

Where no coffee is grown but roasted coffee is becoming a major export and is so good that Starbucks went bankrupt trying to break into the local market;

Where people cuss using dirty words in Russian or Arabic because Hebrew never developed them and one need not check the ingredients on the products in the supermarket to avoid food containing pork;

Where the same drivers who swear at you and give you the finger will immediately pull over to help if you look like you need it;

Where no one cares about the rules when an important goal can be achieved by bending them;

Where army reservists are bossed around and commanded by officers, male and female, younger than their own children;

Where "small talk" consists of loud, angry debate over politics and religion;

Whose soldiers eat three helpings of salads a day, none of which contain lettuce (considered the food of the food), and where olives ARE a food and even a main course in a meal, rather than something one tosses into a martini;

Where their leaders take buses and trains; graffiti is in Hebrew and to call someone black refers to the colour of their clothes (Haredi) not their skin.

Israel is the only country in the world that has a National Book Week, during which most of the population attends a local book fair and buys books;

Where inviting someone "out for a drink" means drinking cola, coffee or tea.

Where bank robbers kiss the mezuzah on the doorpost as they leave the bank with their loot.

Where the weather and landscape is like California, without the earthquakes.

Where no one notices a foreign accent because everyone has a foreign accent.

Where patients visiting physicians end up giving the doctor advice.

Where people call an attaché case a "James Bond" and the "@" sign is called a "strudel".
Where there is the most mysterious and mystical calm ambience in the streets on Yom Kippur, which cannot be explained unless you have experienced it.

Where the capital city is a prayer and the sunsets in Jerusalem are golden while the sky is pink.

Israel is the only country in the world where people read in English, buy in Russian, write in Hebrew, mimic in Moroccan and joke in Yiddish.

I would also add that Israel is the only country which Jews call home, Christians call the Land of the Bible and Moslems leave to go on pilgrimage to Mecca.

Friday, 5 June 2009

Shabbat Shalom from Sheila


5th June 2009

42 years. 42 years since a tiny Jewish country, surrounded by fierce enemies was invaded, bombarded and expected to disappear under the sheer might of the Arab world. Somehow, a miracle happened and the brave soldiers, ace pilots and great leaders took us forward to a victory that has entered the annals of warfare. We won, we didn't just win we won the war in just 6 days and after 19 years of frustration and longing our soldiers walked back into the Old City, through the Lions Gate and toward the Western Wall. Ephraim Kishon and Dosh (Kariel Gardosh) understood that flaw in that victory with their marvelous book "So Sorry We Won". Suddenly the world realised that as small as our country was we were no longer dependent, subservient Jews but Jews who were ready to defend ourselves and survive and thrive. The 6 Day War changed our perception of ourselves and gave us pride.


We had a marvelous trip to Western Canada, Toronto and New York. The purpose of our journey was to celebrate the wedding of Rena and David with the Slawsky Family in Jasper, in the glorious Rockies. Since Barry's house was full our gracious hosts were Mu and Pat Lavin, Barry's next door neighbours and our friends in Ross Haven, on a beautiful lake just an hour from Edmonton. With Mu and Pat we travelled to Jasper via Miette Springs, lakes and forests, deer, elk, moose, mountain goats, mountain sheep and finally, at last a BLACK BEAR! The wedding was marvelous, warm and loving. We ate and danced the weekend away and the following morning hoped to go to the Ice Fields glacier but – upon waking found ourselves surrounded by white – 6 inches of snow!!!

We went back to Ross Haven, reorganized our luggage and next morning set off for the Edmonton Airport, flew to Toronto where Eddie and Ray (my sister and brother-in-law) took us to Toronto City Airport and we flew by Porter Airlines (amazingly good) to New York – to our sons Daniel and Amiad, grandson Joshy and Joshy's gorgeous Mum Karen. Nattie and Yolli hosted us as beautifully as always. The weather allowed me to play in Central Park with Joshua which was actually the purpose of that leg of the trip!!!

One of our New York days was spent with the Rubenstein family at Halina's induction as a Rabbi. We were so proud of her, her dedication, her work and her joy. Kol ha Kavod Halina!!!!

Back to Toronto, and to my sister's home. During the week we managed to see Ruth and Paul, my niece and nephew and their families, to Kiva's Bagels with Andrea where we had our photo taken for the local press Our tummies grew as we dined in with Cardiff family Gary and Andy, Mike and Carolyn and dined out with Maccabiah friends Allen, Maida and Gerry, and of course Yaara who went from being Zvi's assistant in Jerusalem to becoming, amongst other things, an advisor to the Canadian Government on Middle East Affairs. It was wonderful to spend time with my big sister – we had so much catching up to do and I wanted my family to know my amazing, kind, generous, noisy, clever, giving husband.

Our flight home was uneventful – other than Zvi's usual problem of stewardesses with trolleys banging into his long legs!!!!

Our first ports of call, upon landing, were to the grand-children to catch up on kisses and hugs – and dole out the gifts!!!!

We had no time for jet-lag since Sam and Debby Bettsak came to dedicate a beautiful clover map, a ceramic rendition of the Heinrich Bünting's map of Jerusalem at the centre of the world, at the entrance to the Jerusalem Municipality. Followed by a delicious supper in Gabrielle's restaurant.

The next day saw us with Allen and Maida Gerskup watching a terrific performance of Oklahoma!!

Sam and Debby then dedicated a programme for students at the Interdisciplinary Centre in Herzliya to create "cool" sites about Israel for youngsters. is one. Finally – and then you are up to date……… the Tiberger wedding. World Maccabi friends arrived from all over the world to join Eyal and Ettie as their beautiful daughter married just one month before the Maccabiah Games!!

Arriving home was emotional, walking into the apartment and opening the blinds to see Jerusalem before me, my flowers and fruit trees a little worse for wear butnot much. Unfortunately the pomegranate tree now has no fruits – but maybe it is just resting for next year!. Our return was all the more poignant for the concern in everybody's voices at the impending Obama speech in Cairo. We have come to expect unjustified censure from world leaders. The speech came and went and the interpretations depend utterly upon the political and national view of the listener. In principle he appears to be asking for a new approach to coming together and trying to oust the extremists, but I am not sure – I just don't know. I was concerned at certain aspects and pleased wit others. I think that my greatest concern is the naïveté of believing that kind words of hope and new beginnings can change the direction of deep seated hatred. I hope and pray he is right and I am wrong but I don't want Israel to pay the price yet again. We won the 6 Day War, not by Israeli aggression but by Israel defence against aggression. We didn't ask anyone to leave – we didn't ask anyone to be annexed and most importantly we did not keep anyone in "refugee" camps in their own land.

I am happy to report that Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert underwent successful surgery for Prostate Cancer this week. Thank you all for your prayers and I managed to pass on the many messages of goodwill.

Finally, I want to tell you about a lovely man. Col Goldstein always brought light into any room. His smiling determination made him an exceptional leader. Not only did he support Israel through the regular channels but Col was amongst the very first investors in Israel. Col and Gloria have been amongst our favourite people, gentle, kind, giving and fun. I know Gloria will miss him horribly but I also know she has an amazing store of memories, beautiful memories of Col. Rabbi Jeremy Lawrence gave the hesped for a great man May his soul rest in peace.

I am thrilled to be home, loved being with my family, sorry I missed my wonderful Arlene and overjoyed to know that Jill is here. Next week you will hear of Mahane Yehuda and Shouk Ramle as Jill gets her way and I rediscover my beloved Jerusalem.

Shabbat Shalom