Friday, 25 February 2011

Shabbat Shalom letter from Jerusalem

24th February 2011

Shabbat Shalom to all but especially to Tomer Silver, our adored young Israeli who is 13 today! Mazal tov Tomer. Tomer, with his parents Ira and Valery and little sister Sheli celebrated Tomers calling to the Torah while we were in Miami, but the photographs showed his pride. I wonder now that he is a man, will he be able to ask the 4 questions at this years Seder(Passover meal)?

New Zealand suffered a terrible earthquake of 6.5 magnitude on the Richter scale. The epicentre was in the mountains close to the town of Christchurch. The damage was terrifying and the after-shock demolished the Cathedral, commercial buildings and housing leaving many homeless and buried under rubble. Israel offered to immediately fly a team out to help but the aid was refused. We send the people of New Zealand our condolences for those who perished, a speedy recovery to the injured and a fast return to normal.

Chaos reigns in the Arab world. Some demonstrations were nipped in the bud by violent means; some are continuing despite brutality from the regimes; some appear to be resolved but without a clear outcome. Ghadaffi and his Libyan regime are killing hundreds of civilians in the streets and his bully-boys are beating people up. The latest reports tell us that Ghadaffi gave the edict that any soldiers who refuse to shoot demonstrators must be killed and the photographs of the dead soldiers is almost worse than the former pictures of dead demonstrators as they were lined up and shot publicly and their bodies burned. I chose not to give you the link to see the bodies because it is horrific beyond belief. What a mediocre response from the West, where is the outcry? The Arab revolutions are not about nor will they create democracy, as the left believes, but rather create a hiatus giving opportunities to the MB and its ilk to step in and take over. Look at the countries that revolted - Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, Bahrain, Libya, none were radical Islamic regimes; on the contrary, they were no friends of the extremists. Mr Obama and other world leaders must watch the situation very closely because it could well lead to WW3 if not nipped in the bud. To understand the horrors that Libyans are suffering look at this report from Tom Gross, I warn you the videos are graphic.

Israel gave entry permits to 300 Palestinians escaping the horrors of Libya and almost simultaneously, Hamas in Gaza chose to bomb (Grad missiles) the civilians of Beersheba. We, Israel, have stood by all of our promises in the truce with Hamas. We never initiate only respond, we bring patients from Gaza for medical relief in Israel; we provide large quantities of aid to Gaza – yet they have not respected even one condition of the truce.

I was jeered at when I said that I was privvy to information which was absolute proof that nuclear materials were moved from Iraq to Syria 6 months prior to the Iraq war..... remember the denial of any WMD's in Iraq Well – they are there after all and will proliferate if someone doesn't wake up soon. ? In total 4 facilities are discovered,7340,L-4033407,00.html

U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron told students in Qatar University that some Middle Eastern rulers were using the Israel-Palestine conflict as a distraction from their own oppressive regimes. “In too many countries in the Middle East, rulers say to their people ‘be angry about that (Israel), don’t be angry about the fact that you live in a non-open society,’” Cameron told his audience after taking a series of questions on Israel. Good morning Mr Cameron!!!

The fact that the BBC (aka Auntie Beeb) leans so far left it is unable to tell the truth from its Guardian is well known but those inside dare not speak of it. Peter Sissons is an exception and after his retirement from that once august institution which costs the British taxpayer the economy of a small country, he decided to blow the whistle. “Left Wing Bias is in the BBC's DNA”

A vigil of over 500 souls for Gilad Schalit, organised by was held in Manchester, UK this week and Joy Wolfe wrote of its success. The event opened with Dudu Fishers song, “Bring Him Home” and Joy reports that Alistair Burt, the Middle East Minister called the ongoing detention of Gilad an outrageous crime saying “He should be released immediately and unconditionally We have repeatedly called for the International Red Cross to have access and I will continue to do so” And true to his word Alistair continuously refers to Gilad almost every time he answers a question about the Israel/Palestinian issue in the House of Commons – the British Parliament.

I am sure that American industrialists are quaking in their shoes because the PA wants to boycott the USA!!! Unfortunately they have no intention of boycotting your aid – Abbas announced that $460,000,000 does not allow the USA to dictate to them. Woulda thought it bought a little loyalty though!!!!

Chicago, oh Chicago, most beautiful city in the entire USA and you are such slow learners! Electing Rahm Emmanuel as Mayor sounds to me a bit like the Polish policemen. 4 Polish policemen died – two in the accident and two in the reconstruction!!! Why would you take a man who admits he was a bad Presidential advisor, made crucial mistakes, and then elect him Mayor. Sorry if I am stepping on toes but... aw c'mon!!! I just hope I am proven wrong because my son studied medicine at the Pritzker School and Zvi's son studied for his MBA at UC so we really know and love that city.

I intended meeting the Chilean miners as they walked the Via Dolorosa to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where they were blessed by a priest, through the Arab Shouk and ancient arches to the Kotel – the Western Wall.They expressed their respect for the Jewish Holy site by wearing skullcaps and placed their prayers and dreams on a note, carefully placed in the huge stones of the towering Wall. As we watched their miraculous release and saw them drop to their knees thanking G-d, today, walking through the steps of the Bible brought their experience to a natural spiritual conclusion. I wish I had been there but unfortunately I was on a two hour conversation with my internet provider who was trying to repair the problem with my Wifi so that I could take my laptop to the meeting! Ah well it was emotional through the television screen and I will meet them on Sunday at the Presidents house (don't worry I will watch where I walk) and travel with them to the Dead Sea and Massada......... wifi willing!!!!

You guys amuse me!!! I work so hard to bring you the news yet the words I hear time and again are “We love your descriptions of Jerusalem” .

This week the gentle winter sun came out to warm our souls and I took the opportunity to meet friends and eat the amazing Oreganetto Salad at Caffit in the Botanical Gardens. Oreganetto is without question the best salad in the world!!! Huge bowls (per person but we split it!) of cut cucumber, tomatoes, lettuce, herbs, mushrooms, laced with wonderful “Tsfatit” white cheese and topped with oven-baked strips of sweet potato, with crunchy croutons, with a beautiful fresh dressing of Israeli olive oil and a little lemon. Sitting on the veranda of Caffit beside the lake, watching the swans with women I love, catching up on our lives was just heaven!!!

The gardeners are still cutting the grass on the park opposite, as if they want the park to be ready for Shabbat too!! I am in the middle of my Shabbat cooking – the vegatable soup with all the goodness of our rich earth in it and the wonderful Moroccan mushrooms, tiny mushrooms gently sauteed with onion slices in olive oil and the magic ingredients of salt, turmeric, black pepper, ground coriander seeds, ground cumin seeds and a little garlic.... sauteed and then served on wonderful local houmous! Mmmmm, I wish it was ready!!! Shoshana is making kubeh soup – hers is with tomatoes and Shula is making kubeh soup with beetroot; Rivka makes chicken and rice and Sarit makes Hamin (Shabbat stew) with everything in it....... without the kishke (I cannot bring myself to tell you what that is but it is only Ashkenazi Jews who eat it!!!). Yossi will make a whole slew of dishes for his family.... and then take it all to his fathers home so that they can eat together. This is Israel, if we didn't need to talk politics we would talk of food, cook food, teach food and nothing else.. not quite true, the women would talk of hairdressers and the men of football (the real one) and basketball.

Now to continue with the Shabbat cooking – you took me away from my kitchen – I love cooking, love creating, love the love it expresses and of course........ love preparing for Shabbat.

Be well dear friends – enjoy a good meal – the diet will wait for tomorrow!!!!

Shabbat Shalom from a wonderfully aromatic Jerusalem, redolent with the cuisine of the dispersion brought into a wonderful cornucopia of culinary delights in Jerusalem – home.


PS I thought you may like to read what the incredibly witty Ephraim Kishon wrote about Israel.

Ephraim Kishon was Israel's greatest humourist. Here is his explanation of Israel.

Israel is a country surrounded on all sides by enemies, but the people’s headaches are caused by the neighbours upstairs.

Israel is the only country in the world where the coffee is already so good that Starbucks went bankrupt trying to break into the local market.

Israel is one of the few places in the world where the sun sets into the Mediterranean Sea .

Israel is the only country in the world whose soldiers eat three sets of salads a day, none of which contain any lettuce (which is not really a food), and where olives ARE a food and even a main course in a meal, rather than something one tosses into a martini.

Israel is the only country in the world where one is unlikely to dig a cellar without hitting ancient archaeological artifacts.

Israel is the only country in the world where the leading writers in the country take buses.

Israel is the only country in the world where the graffiti is in Hebrew.

Israel is the only country in the world that has a National Book Week, during which almost everyone attends a book fair and buys books.

Israel is a country where the same drivers who cuss you and flip you the bird will immediately pull over and offer you all forms of help if you look like you need it.

Israel is the only country in the world with bus drivers and taxi drivers who read Spinoza and Maimonides.

Israel is the only country in the world where no one cares what rules say when an important goal can be achieved by bending them.

Israel is the only country in the world where reservists are bossed around and commanded by officers, male and female, younger than their own children.

Israel is the only country in the world where “small talk” consists of loud, angry debate over politics and religion.

Israel is the only country in the world where the ultra-Orthodox Jews beat up the police and not the other way around.

Israel is the only country in the world where inviting someone “out for a drink” means drinking cola, coffee or tea..

Israel is the only country in the world where bank robbers kiss the mezuzah as they leave with their loot.

Israel is one of the few countries in the world that truly likes and admires the United States.

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 .

Israel is the only country in the world where everyone on a flight gets to know one another before the plane lands. In many cases, they also get to know the pilot and all about his health or marital problems.

Israel is the only country in the world where no one has a foreign accent because everyone has a foreign accent.

Israel is the only country in the world where people cuss using dirty words in Russian, English or Arabic because Hebrew has never developed them.

Israel is the only country in the world where patients visiting physicians end up giving the doctor advice.

Israel is the only country in the world where everyone strikes up conversations while waiting in lines.

Israel is the only country in the world where people call an attach� case a “James Bond” and the “@” sign is called a “strudel”.

Israel is the only country in the world 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.

Sunsets in Jerusalem are gorgeous every evening.

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

Friday, 18 February 2011

Shabbat Shalom letter from jerusalem

18th February 2011

Shabbat shalom from Jerusalem!!!!

This has been a very busy news week so I will fill you in on the world news, the local news and then our journey home and the days since.

Our first paragraph is dedicated to the Palestinian Authority. Mr Abbas dissolved his parliament last week, dissolved and reinstated a new one without any elections – and without the media yelling "Democracy" at him! In addition Saeeb Erakat, chief negotiator with Israel, resigned his position after Wikileaks proved that he is far more pragmatic than his rhetoric suggests. Finally, despite the fact that Turkish Moslems massacred one and a half million Armenians, who then fled to Jerusalem where they found safe haven, Mr Abbas decided that the Armenian Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem is Palestinian!! I have a feeling that he takes into account the many, many buildings in new Jerusalem owned by the Armenian Church as a good start on further ambitions!

The media has said little of the massacre of Christians in the Sudan, prompting the division of that country into two- North and South – one Moslem and one Christian and other faiths. Many persecuted Sudanese fled on foot and faced a huge trek through Egypt to Israel, where they learned they could live in peace. Those who survived the trek were then heinously abused by the Bedouin of the Sinai to the almost silence of the foreign press. Egypt shot those who reached the border and now Israel must find a solution to the ever increasing numbers of refugees.

The Daily Mail, a British, middle class, tabloid newspaper has always been conservative with a small "c", pro-British, pro-Israel. The newspaper has often bewailed the loss of British standards with the ever growing demographic threat of Pakistani and other Moslem immigrants, This article proves their fears of a school, a Madrassa, one of many where corporal punishment is used regularly and anti-British sentiment the general leaning.

Lara Logan is an American journalist with ABC. Blonde, beautiful, clever she confidently stood among the jubilant crowd in Tahrir Square, Cairo; reporting the scene when she was surrounded by a group of men who taunted her and her crew, then grabbed her and separated her from her crew, sexually abusing and raping her, as they did so they screamed Jew Jew Jew before attacking her. The silence and lack of fury is inconceivable.

The Independent newspaper claims no responsibility for its blogs (!) This one goes far beyond the pale in its denigration of Israel. Please write in and respond.

Lt. General Benny Gantz is the 20th Chief of Staff of the IDF. He is the ultimate Jewish story – his Mother was one of the few survivors of the Bergen Belsen death camp, a survivor whose son grew up to be a fine soldier, defending his Jewish country which led ultimately to his becoming Chief of Staff. He is married and has four young Sabras (Israeli born), his children - surely the greatest revenge upon the lunacy of anti-Semitism of all. I met him last year when, as Deputy Chief of Staff, he gave a presentation to the Conf. of Presidents led by the wonderful Malcolm Hoenlein. We were deeply impressed by this highly personable gentleman and the obvious devotion shown by "his" soldiers. We wish him Mazal Tov and love from his people and success as the leader of his soldiers – our boys.

I love this article. Kosher food can be gourmet, just like treif it simply depends on the chef!! I remember when Chef Shalom Tsadok brought a dozen world famous chefs to Jerusalem for the King David Feast; they cooked a totally kosher super duper gourmet meal of 12 courses (one per chef) and no one had difficulty!

So here we are, back in Jerusalem. Our last few days in Miami were fabulous, spending time with people we love, but I have to admit that as we climbed the Jerusalem hills my heart skipped a beat of joy!! We were collected from the airport by my daughter Rachel and amazingly the suitcases fitted in! We stopped to kiss the grandchildren in Modi'in and Givat Zev before heading for home. Walking in the front door I ran straight to raise the electric blinds to see our veranda, somewhat neglected and wind tousled, but the view, ah the view! The sun was setting and the pink light hit the white stones in the familiar glow that told me that the apartment would soon warm up and welcome our homecoming because Jerusalem lay before us. The first days flew by in a flurry of friends and tours of the Old City and new and even squeezing in a trip to Tel Aviv and another to Modi'in to see my girlfriends. We both spent time with the grandchildren who received most of their presents, about two suitcases were dedicated to them!!!!

And so to Shabbat. The apartments beneath me are producing familiar aromas of international delicacies; the shoppers are wending their weary way back home and the shopping malls closing; the buses roar their way up the hills to their weekend garage; the men sit in cafes at their parliaments, putting the world to rights and many women too. Newly washed tiled floors gleam and tables are set with white cloths to receive the families who come to eat the Friday night supper with their parents, aunts and uncles; each guest carrying a large pot of favourite dishes. Tonight, as always, we will go to Zvi's amazing mother Ala, Headmistress Ala who touched the lives of so many young people, giving them purpose, confidence and a complete education. She doesn't cook any more, I do, at 97 she is entitled to be served, and we will be joined by Zvi's boys and grand-daughters – four generations around a tiny table. Zvi will sing the Kiddush (blessing over wine) in his mellifluous bass baritone and his Mother will look at him with adoration knowing that he absorbed his Jewishness from her home with the wonderful Kalman, as Zvi's boys and little grand-daughters do from his.

Jerusalem, heart of our hearts, centre of our world. Each and every day I thank G-d for letting me live here.
Shabbat Shalom dear friends, Shabbat Shalom and much love

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Shabbat Shalom letter from Jerusalem

10th February 2011

Shabbat Shalom from Florida!

We are nearing the end of our Floridian sojourn and it has been phenomenal. We saw many old friends and made a new ones and life is good.

Betrayal seems to be the name of the political and diplomatic game as the USA turns on those who have been their staunchest allies in the Middle East. Hosni Mubarak is not an angel but he is so much better than any alternative. The demands for democracy from the streets do not always tell the whole truth. Mubarak fought hard and long to outlaw the mutilation of female genitalia when 96% of Egyptian women have been circumcised; he fought to prevent the killing of Egypts Coptic Christians in the name of Islam and most importantly he is a friend of the United States. Saudi Arabia tried to warn President Obama of the dangers of betraying Mubarak since they recognise the meaning of humiliation in the Arab world The level of betrayal means that rather than relying on their Western allies moderate (?) ME leaders turn their heads toward an alliance with Iran. King Abdullah of Jordan, conceivably our greatest ally, did so because he thought “If they betray Mubarak , Ben Ali (Tunisia) and Hariri (Lebanon) they will betray me” Rafik Hariri of Lebanon begged for support against Hezb-Allah, did not find it and found himself talking with Iran, the very leaders who had his father killed and now Hezb-Allah has control of the parliament because Walid Jumblat, the Druze leader who hold the balance in the Christian, Moslem, Druze parliament, understood which way the wind blows. The idiocy of the reportage likened Tahir Square to Woodstock.... are they insane? I believe that Mubarak will remain leading Egypt for lack of a reasonable alternative. Isi Liebler has written an excellent analysis of the recent events in Egypt

The only good to have come out of the Egytian protests is to give young Gazans the courage to demand release from the oppression of Hamas and “the bearded clerics” although since they dare not show their faces or be identified they use facebook to spread the word.

It is really hard to identify or quantify Jihadists, especially those not born to the Moslem Faith, but this guy was on a path that was so easy to recognise!! id=12557232&tqkw=&tqshow=&nwltr=blotter_featureMore

“I told you so”, BENNY GANTZ is to be the new Israeli Commander in Chief. He is supremely suitable, very personable and an outstanding representative for Israel. Mazal Tov !

David Cameron, UK Prime Minster, and Angela Merkel, German Chancellor have come to the understanding that multi-culturalism does not work in its current form. Europe and the UK are tired of absorbing people who do not want to adapt to their parent society but rather to change that society to conform with the very countries they fled from.

Alec Garrard has painstakingly worked for 30 years on an astonishing recreation of Herod's Temple. Fascinated by religion and buildings Alec built the model which measures 20ft by 12ft and is housed in a separate building in his garden. It is so impressive that some of the world's top archaeologists and experts come to view it.

Yet again the soldiers of the IDF show their deep humanity as they help a Palestinian woman who was giving birth, delivered then saved the life of her baby,7340,L-4025082,00.html

I am angry and frustrated by the happenings in Geneva this week. Our dear friend Yitzchak Lev has been working hard, between Jerusalem and Geneva, to create a Gala opening for the Swiss Fundraising Campaign of Keren Hayesod. President George W. Bush was following Bill Clinton and Al Gore among the high class speakers Yitzchak brought to the Swiss campaign over the years. The left wing demonstrated against George Bush's policies and the USA in general and the right wing against other US policies and both wanted him arrested for war crimes! The Swiss Government and police instead of moving the demonstrators further away from the convention hall where the President was to speak forced a situation whereby the guests would have to walk through the demonstrators creating an impossible security situation. Keren Hayesod was forced to cancel the Presidents visit, thus losing over $500,000 in fees and expenses, and the American Ambassador to Switzerland did nothing!!! This should not be a Democratic/Republican issue the- Ambassador should represent his former President and the Swiss should defend democracy!

This has been a week of friends. Since we last spoke we saw friends from Venezuela, Canada, Mexico, Cuba, Argentina and even America!!! Leila and Sheila, the Superbowl at the Haritons, Marna, Jo Ann, Jay and Lisa, David and Lauren, Kathy, Nora and Marcelo, Allen and Maida, Moises and Esther, this afternoon David, Barry and Guiora and more and more wonderful people we met through the family of Maccabi World Union and Keren Hayesod. We went to an outstanding concert at the New World Symphony in Miami with our phenomenal hosts Helene and Martin and were overjoyed to see picnickers on the lawns outside on a glorious balmy night, watching the broadcast concert for free. A most exciting advance this week was sitting with Jay and working on my proposed website. We have a name! “Shabbat Shalom News” and Jays help in setting it up and doing so much work for me has been invaluable. Real friendship is not to be taken for granted. Thanks to those who have offered to help me financially, you will get a permanent mention and thank you on the website!!

Time and again you tell me that you love the way I love Jerusalem. The golden/pink whiteness of the buildings to the walks through Mahane Yehuda, Mea Shearim, the Old City and Mamilla; the flaming red sunrise silhouetting the city before me and the sunset casting its pink glow on the Jerusalem stone; the rainbow of people and most importantly of all...............the view from my veranda.

Next week I promise to describe every special aspect of the places I love in the city that we love. People we see and the aromas of culture rising through our building on Friday as Shabbat meals are prepared in steamy kitchens; the gentle slowing down of Jerusalem as stores close, buses cease their strained roar as they climb the hills and the persistent hum of cars ends as Jerusalem falls into a gentle silence awaiting the Bride of Shabbat.

Helene and Martin do not like me to mention the fact that they are selfless and unbelievable hosts, so I won't!

Shabbat Shalom and much love from Zvi and I


Friday, 4 February 2011

Shabbat Shalom letter from Jerusalem

3rd February 2011
Shabbat Shalom, happy Chinese Year of the Rabbit and enjoy the Superbowl!!!

I am frustrated!! I don't know how you manage with the biased and fallacious news broadcasts that you have to suffer! Yes I am still in the wonderfully relaxing atmosphere of Florida but gosh it is ridiculous – do the networks thinks we are idiots? Let me give you a few examples.
”Mubaraks mobs are now attacking the freedom demonstrators” and “The Government sponsored attackers were throwing grenades and molotov cocktails at the peoples demonstration” or “Mubarak is still trying to control the people through his thugs” No information is given about El Baradei's links to Iran or the Moslem Brotherhood despite considerable proof (Dr Malcolm Hoenlein, hardly quick to judgement writes ) ,
nor do they speak of the clear links of those who back the “People Revolution” to Al Quaeeda, the MB and Iran¶m=GJN.
Those behind the revolution are the very people who would see the downfall of the West! Of course Mubarak was not a nice man, he was a despot, benign only in the sense that he tried to keep his country free of oppressive Islam and close to the West. Dictators are not democratic yet some are capable of ensuring more freedom by eradicating the evil-doers without the consent of the people. Democratic elections do not ensure democracy.

According to PBS news the mobs in Egypt were told that the journalists were Israeli spies thus initiating the violence against them! I cannot find proof but it is feasible.

Day of Rage in Egypt was a network revolution and subsequent demonstrations were carefully planned and the call was for similar explosive demonstrations throughout the entire Arab world using the power of Twitter, Facebook and similar social networks.
This vlog was recorded on January 18th by Asma Mahfouz, the girl who started it all, shared her video on Facebook, and went viral. It was so powerful and popular, that Egyptians swarmed by the thousands into Tahrir Square causing the Egyptian government blocked Facebook to stem the danger

Sean Hannity of Fox News interviewed Imam Anjem Choudary, a London Moslem Cleric, concerning the MB and their involvedment in the Egyptian riots. He got much more than he expected – a lesson in Sharia Law!

As I write a demonstration is taking place and growing in “la-la land” in Sanborn Square, Boca Raton Florida, in support of the people of Egypt and the demonstration. Ahmed Al- Awaadi has been in the States for 10 years but wihes he was back in Egypt. Dressed in shorts and T-shirts they do not understand that what they believe to be “freedom” for Egypt would in fact deny those people the right to wear such clothes as unfitting or un-chaste.

In the melee surrounding the Egyptian events few bothered to report the increased number of rocket attacks on Southern Israel. - except the much maligned Egyptian Army. A Grad Rocket (not the smaller Kassam) narrowly missed a wedding celebration (CCTV)

Australia and Canada understand the situation far better than older democracies.
Last week, Canada’s Free Thinking Film Society was scheduled to screen Iranium, a new documentary about the regime that has ruled Iran since 1979, its drive to acquire nuclear weapons, and the dangers that poses to the West. But then the Iranian embassy complained and — coincidently — threats and “suspicious letters” were received at the National Archives in Ottawa, where the event was to take place, the Archives cancelled the screening and shut the building. However Minister of Heritage James Moore delivered a Churchillian response.“This movie will be shown, the agreement will be kept,” he said. “We will not be moving it to a different facility, we’re not bending to any pressure. People need to be kept safe, but we don’t back down to people who try to censor people by threats of violence. Canada does not accept attempts from the Iranian Embassy to dictate what films will and will not be shown in Canada.” AGAIN BRAVO CANADA!!!

Of all the people in power that our work has enabled us to meet, one who stands out above them all. Congresswoman Ileana Ros Lehtinen is an exceptional woman and I am proud to say that she and Dexter are dear friends. Loved and admired by politicians on both sides of the Congress and Senate as an honest broker who is loyal to her beliefs and honest in her dealings, she has gathered respect and believability in a world almost devoid of both. This week I went to a memorial service for Ileanas mother Amanda Ros, together with Adv. David Efron and State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle. The service was exceptional on every level, held in a non-denominational church in the “Little Cuba” area of Miami, attended only by friends of the family. The clergy were Catholic, Methodist, Evangelical, a Rabbi and the Israeli Consul General in Florida. Each spoke of Amanda's Jewish roots, she became a Catholic when she married Enrique, and the Jewishness of her heritage and her good works – and the love of Israel she imbued in her children. The hymns were mostly Davids psalms and when the priest gave the final blessing he turned to the assembled clergy and the family and said “When a person passes on it is irrelevant what faith they embraced because a good person will be welcomed by the angels” May Amanda's soul rest in peace and the Ros-Lehtinen family know now more sorrow.

Marna Winter is a friend. In truth we have been friends for far longer than either of us realised but that is another story!! Marna and I went to a delightful open air mall the other night, and after walking around the grounds (OK and the shops) we sat and talked of “Cabbages and Kings”. I noted that most of the staff and the diners were immigrants – the harmony of a hundred languages is apparently common to most countries today

The Chilean miners are coming!!!! At the invitation of Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov, 31 of the 33 miners, their spouses, the Regional Governor of Atacama and Chilean journalists will come to Israel in a Pilgrimage of Thanks on the 23rd February. They will visit sites holy to Christianity, and some of Israel's leading tourism locations. including the Via Dolorosa, Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Garden of Gethsemane, Room of the Last Supper, the Western Wall and King David's Tomb. They will be welcomed by President Shimon Peres for an official welcome reception in his residence. I will be there and take Zvi with me as my translator!

Yesterday I received some exciting news. Danny Seaman was the controversial Director of the Foreign Press Office of the Government Press Office in Israel. Why controversial? Because Danny is no-nonsense, doesn't suffer fools and wanted certain standards from the foreign Press who walked all over us. Danny was ousted from his position and yesterday wrote telling me he has won the position of Deputy Director General for Information at the Ministry of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs. Basically, he will be in charge of the Ministry's Hasbara activities, and hopefully, over time, will be able to influence things to a degree that Israel's hasbara won't be "a joke" as Melanie Phillips stated so profoundly on Israel television recently! The irony is that he will be responsible for... the GPO! MAZAL TOV DANNY. Israel is lucky to have your love of Israel and ability.

Wishing you all a Shabbat Shalom and take heart our sense of humour and self-mockery will hold us in good stead – there is a great joke going around


With much love from the warm love of our gracious hosts and their friends and our friends.... some of whom we have seen some are yet to see during the week.......