Friday, 30 July 2010

Shabbat Shalom letter


Friday 30th July, 2010.

Shabbat Shalom

Israel suffered a terrible tragedy this week when an IDF helicopter carrying six young officers went down while on a Romanian/Israeli military exercise. Those who lost their lives are Lt. Col (Res.) Avner Goldman (48); Lt. Col. Daniel Shipenbauer (43); Maj. Yahel Keshet (33); Maj. Lior Shai (28); Lt. Nir Lakrif (25) and Sergeant 1st Class Oren Cohen (24). May their souls rest in peace and their families know no more sorrow.

Oliver Stone, whose horrendously violent and sick movies are no longer in vogue resorted to an equally violent response for his inadequacies. So Hitler was right eh? Let's see if Hollywood has the ****s to shun him as they didn't with Mel Gibson's "in vino veritas" outburst. By the way, if it is true that Americas Jews run the media and politics why is their press and the State Department so anti-Israel? At least Haim Saban, unlike the ADL, decided that Stone is persona non grata and is prepared to cancel his option
Khaled Abu Toameh wrote two outstanding articles this week. Palestinian Victim's No-one Cares About which addresses the maltreatment of Palestinians in just about every other Arab country and Palestinians in Gaza invest $20m. in new resorts concerning local tourism and investment in Gaza and the West Bank in resorts and lunar parks– British PM Cameron should read it before currying favour with the Turks!

Ishmael Khaldi is a Moslem diplomat; Ishmael Khaldi is an Israeli diplomat, the former Deputy Consul in San Francisco and senior advisor to Minister Avigdor Lieberman; a fact which crushes media truisms; that Avigdor Lieberman in particular and Israel in general are anti-Arab. In the words of Ishmael Khaldi "If Israel were an Apartheid state I would not have been appointed"

A Major Humanitarian Medical Conference has been held in Israel under the auspices of Stan With Us. Medical students, medical aid workers and doctors from all over the world attended. Kol ha Kavod Stand With Us

Who is a Jew is once again an urgent topic. MK David Rothem tried to devolutionise the conversion process but his Knesset Bill was shot down by both Ultra-Orthodox and Reform leaders and the process remains in limbo. Many Russian immigrants are awaiting conversion and an answer must be found to their dilemma. Please read Rabbi Jeremy Rosens honest approach to the impasse.
Antithisis – the Zionist Rapper- makes Aliya. Samuel Green, the British Zionist rap artist whose profits go to charity, makes it clear, Israel is the place for him. Samuel, keep up your great hasbara work and remember that the adventure of Aliya is the natural result of your Zionism

The City of David is exceptional in both its beauty and its history. Enjoy this virtual visit

Jill and I were sitting in the Mamilla Mall "people watching" while drinking a delicious CafĂ© Hafuch. We were mulling the glorious rainbow of humanity which passed us every moment. Ultra Orthodox, Priests in long black robes, girls flirtingly dressed, Moslem women in long robes, black, white and pink tourists and then I saw her…… a strange vision of a woman with Payot (side curls), kippa (skullcap), tzitzit (fringes), short shorts and red high heels!!!! I am all for the rainbow of humanity but surely there is a limit!!!

David Cameron is the Conservative Prime Minister of the UK; Conservative governments have traditionally been pro-Israel but Mr Cameron quickly showed his true colours, as indeed did Mr Obama in the USA. Each and every one of you can do your bit. Write to your local politicians, national politicians, representatives at every level and don't wait for a response before writing again!!!! Write, talk, speak out, research your facts and respond. Being PC and polite is fine in ordinary social conversation but holding back and prying for the best is not the way through this. Speak out and speak up! Finland has a tiny Jewish community but they, together with Christians for Israel, stood up and declared their support for Israel at a particularly rabid anti-Israel demonstration! Leo-Dan I don't want you to think your community goes unnoticed!

The moonrise over Jerusalem has been spectacular over the last few days. I guess it is recompense for the unbearable heatwave we are suffering!! The Shabbat cooking is over, as the top floor in our building I get all the aromas but do not return them….. thus my wonderful family tradition of fried gefilte fish balls stays my secret while I am privy to Shoshanas Kubeh soup; Michal's Hamin; Rivka's Syrian rice with sweet prunes and pine nuts; Daisy's sweet peppers filled with rice and lamb; ah I could go on for hours but will content myself with my own kitchens culinary delights…unless of course I decide to pop down to Shoshana for a quick taste!!! The veranda is even more beautiful than usual. The pomegranates growing and plumping out to be ready for Rosh Hashana; the Kumquats still like tiny olives before becoming beautiful orange fruits and of course the tiny orange tree which has been beaten by the heat and only has 3 fruits and finally my herb garden. Suddenly we have a garden since putting down artificial grass….. yes I know ….I laughed at the idea too but when one has only ceramic tiles as an option then artificial grass is the closest one can get to luxuriating in green!! Zvi was amazed to find himself talking about "our garden" as he sat on the 4x3 metre carpet!!!

Last but not least I want to express gratitude and admiration for Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. Ileana is Israel's strongest and most loyal friend anywhere in the world of politics. She stands behind her loyalties, never hiding behind party politics and is a true leader. Please read and discover what morals and ethics politicians should follow. Thank you, dear Ileana. Zvi and I are proud to call you and Dexter our friends.

Shabbat Shalom to you all wherever you may be in this wonderful wide world. Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem the heart of our world, my home and yours.


Friday, 23 July 2010

Shabbat Shalom letter


23rd July, 2010

Shabbat Shalom dear friends

A correspondent for one of Japan’s biggest newspapers said last week, “Gaza and the West Bank are the only places in the world where I have seen refugees drive Mercedes.”

Tom Gross' revelations of the large new shopping mall in Gaza went worldwide but no media news companies reported them. He also reported the mansions, markets filled with fruit and vegetables and the spanking new Roots club in Gaza City but was ignored by the press. Is it bias? No…… kowtowing to political correctness. It is politically correct to allow a corrupt and violent regime to become the symbol of suffering and an open, democratic and religiously diverse society to become the pariah.

Politics and diplomacy often create strange bedfellows and sometimes bring together logical allies. The Greek leader Papandraeou is here on an official visit, meeting with our leaders in order to improve Greco-Israel relations. Greece is surely a rational ally for Israel but during our romance with the Turks they chose to distance themselves from us. It is amazing what an argument with the Turks can do!!!!

A minute loophole in a British Law intended to entrap Nazi War criminals but used by Arabs and the New Israel Fund and its subsidiaries to trap Israeli officials and officers abroad, is being closed. The process, started by the Labour Government and pushed through by the Tories is welcomed by Israel. After economic, political and legal ploys by the Arab bloc another door closes.

Standwithus is an outstanding student organization informing students on campuses, giving them reason to be proud of who and what they are. I was invited to attend the fourth annual graduation ceremony of their Fellowship course in the grounds of the Anna Ticho Artists House in Jerusalem The StandWithUs Fellowship operates on six campus centers across Israel, making it the only nationwide Fellowship of its kind. "They are the face of Israel, eloquent, knowledgeable and charismatic", said Michael Dickson, StandWithUs Israel director of the Israeli Fellows, "they have the capacity to break one hundred stereotypes that people in the wider world may have about Israel"

150 fellows graduated, each and every one sharing a common belief in Zionism and the need to portray Israel in a positive fashion. Michael Dickson, raised and educated in the UK, said that SWU seeks to educate the next generation of Israelis to be globally minded, articulate advocates for Israel. "I genuinely believe that a prime minister of Israel is in this room tonight," said Shay Assor, the StandWithUs Fellowship Director.

The students we met were bright, beautiful, motivated, uplifted, filled with the inspiration and impetus we need but rarely find. Both Jill and I came away uplifted with enormous hope secure in the knowledge that this generation will do a much better job of representing Israel than our generation, which produced Ilan Pappe and Noam Chomsky, ever did.

Last night we walked the promenade in Mamilla, beneath the walls of the Old City. This time there was no light show but thousands upon thousands of people milled about among the stores and street artists having fun. This was, as always, a multifaceted crowd, Jews, Moslems, Christians, brown, black, white, secular, moderate and ultra-orthodox with one thing in common….not the wonderful Israeli music from the band, nor the side shows, not even the great massage from professionals at a massage stand, but rather FOOD in the heaving restaurants! Israeli salads are amazing and varied; a green salad of phenomenally crispy lettuce, to Israeli chopped salads, aubergine, courgette, avocado, rice, peppers, spicy and sweet – the word salad has a million meanings. Toast is another exotic word, with fillings you cannot even dream of! Our favourite exercise is reading menus and since our fast food is healthy we don't get fat! Jerusalem is popping with activities including a Craft Fair, Film Fair and general entertainment for children and adults.

Talking of food I thought you would enjoy this article about our friend Cef Moshe Basson of Eucalyptus, the restaurant which serves ethnic food using herbs and spices mentioned in the Bible……….with a special twist. Last night Moshe held an unusual feast to remember for his guests. Water Buffalo, locusts, bull's testicles, guinea fowl, swordfish were on the utterly kosher menu.

This has been a joyous week for me as my son Gideon, his wife Stephanie and their 3 children came to stay. Oh joy! All precious objects were securely raised, the veranda made spectacular with a green astro-turf carpet preventing the children from slipping on the tiles as they jump from the paddling pool, the tent, see-saw, tricycles and toys barely allowing room for the table and the children fascinated by the oranges, green and small, the pomegranates growing plump, the tiny olive-like kumquats and the many herbs and hot peppers I grew by mistake! On Tuesday 8 grandchildren played on the veranda making it even more spectacular than usual giving it purpose and joy – only the addition of Joshua could have made it complete. Yosef, Sammy, Talia, Amit, Olivia, Zachary, Ayala and little Gili enjoyed the shade Zvi had placed over the entire veranda and Rachel sat patiently made wonderful creations with them. At five o'clock we grew to 10 children and about the same number of adults as Ira and Velrie, Tomer and Sheli arrived. As darkness fell, children bathed and dreaming, we sat to a meal of salads, humous and pizza…. knowing that the day of mourning (Tisha b'Av ) had come to an end and we were the privileged generation who could look over Jerusalem in the knowledge that we are back in our Biblical and historic homeland.

Shabbat Shalom and much love from Jerusalem, heart of our world.


Friday, 16 July 2010

Shabbat Shalom letter

16th July, 2010–07–16
Shabbat Shalom!
Nu? So did you miss me? I was having the best time in the world with my children and grandchildren and of course my siblings in the UK and visiting the Green, Green Grass of Wales – it really is greener than anywhere else in the world!!! Quite apart from the tourism I was so proud to go to the new synagogue in Cardiff right next the house in which I grew up – especially since my brother in law Melvyn and cousin Roger were so involved in the building, and my nephew Steven - and because the prayer for the State of Israel and the IDF was dedicated to my late parents.
I arrive home to the final buzzing of the World Cup. We went to our dear friends Rosa and Bernardo for the semi-final and then they came to us for the final. Right up until the last seconds Zvi was praying for the Dutch to win. We Jews have long memories and the Dutch were far better historically than the German or Spanish teams, so we went for Spain!! Oh well – Spain won and it was a good game.
Arab Knesset members, including Haneen Zouabi who took part in the infamous Gaza flotilla, have been invited by anti-Israel MPs to meet British lawmakers in Parliament. The purpose is to emphasise the claim that Israel is a racist society. Surely anathema to a situation whereby a group of people who call themselves Palestinians sit in the Israeli Knesset and reach the position of Deputy Speaker of the House; the ultimate manifestation of democracy. There will be a demonstration outside Parliament on the 28th of July. Brits please stop being polite and express your disgust at this display of double-standards – Americans, don't be smug – you are next- after the Mosque has been built on the site of 9/11.

The upside down ethical standards of our world are demonstrated in Madrid where the Gay Parade has banned Israeli participants! Israel is the only country in the entire Middle East with freedom to express sexual preference whereas all our neighbours who stone, beat and behead homosexuals are welcomed.,7340,L-3901785,00.html

Did you know that the Syrians have joined the Turks in killing off Kurds? Actually they don't always kill them off – sometimes they strip them of their citizenship so that they cannot get work or feed their families. Where is the outrage? Maybe all the worlds sympathy and energy has been spent on the Gazans. Gaza, poor Gaza – just like Namibia, Darfur, Haiti. See the poverty in this presentation

I don't know if this it your news but for the first time in a decade, senior Palestinian police officers hosted GOC of the Central Command, Maj. Gen. Avi Mizrahi in the Judea and Samaria region. During the visit, the presidential guard displayed a number of exercises and operational tactics which demonstrated the challenges faced by Palestinian security forces. The Head of the Civil Administration, Brig. Gen. Yoav Poly and senior IDF Central Command officers also accompanied the visit. "The relationship between the IDF and the Palestinian security apparatus is very professional and successful in creating the security quiet that protects all sides", said Maj. Gen. Mizrahi.

Why no Pollard exchange? Unlike the Russians who did a "spy swap" after their embarrassing passport fiasco Israel has no spies to exchange for a man who has been held in solitary confinement for an inordinate amount of time by our closest allies. Why? Because we give the USA all the information they need or want, unconditionally. Friends?

Conversion dilemma. Member of Knesset David Rotem, a modern orthodox MK, found the current conversion situation untenable whereby the Rabbinical Courts not only decide who is a Jew but can retroactively deny conversion. MK Rotem put forward a bill which would allow local Rabbis and Rabbinical courts to perform conversion as opposed to the current situation whereby all conversions go through Jerusalem, however it then firmly places the conversion issue under the Chief Rabbinates jurisdiction and could preclude some converts already deemed Jewish. The issue has become deeply political rather than religious at a time when we need unity. Natan Sharansky's words on the subject{819E4C68-0967-44E9-ACA3-103FC4FDD5E4}&CurrLang=en

Tuesday is Tisha b'Av. I do not claim to be a Torah Scholar so I will give you two options – two views of Tisha b'Av one from Rabbi Jeremy Rosen and the other from Chabad

So, as I asked before – did you miss me? Coming home is always special and this time it is even more special since I knew that my son Gideon, daughter in law Stephanie and the incredible Sammy, Olivia and Zachary would be following me just a few days later! Oh what fun we will have, especially now that Saba Zvi put the huge shade over the veranda, ensuring safe playing in the paddling pool. Our home will be filled with the laughter of children as all of them will come to play wit their little British cousins. Auntie Jill is here, lapping up the extreme heat while she sits on our veranda lapping up the view.

We will take the children to the Biblical Zoo, to the Bloomfield Science Museum, to Little Israel and the Latrun Tank Museum- to forests for picnics and to a nearby village which has amazing soft play. Israel is a country for children. Babysitters are barely needed since the children sleep in the afternoon and then come out to restaurants and town centre with their parents – it is a total family experience.

I must run now since one lot of grandchildren just left and the house needs making ready for Shabbat!!! I love the tiled floors but they do need a wash!!!

Be well, enjoy your Shabbat and come see us soon – the veranda is now shady and the evenings balmy…and the view as breathtaking as ever.

With much love from the most beautiful city in the world