Friday, 28 June 2013

Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem- KKL, Kerry, Archbishop of Canterbury


28th June 2013

Shabbat Shalom to everyone.

Summer has seriously arrived with the usual searing hot days and wonderful cool Jerusalem nights. The Presidential Conference has been and gone, with all the usual lauding and complaints depending upon which side of the political divide one sits. We have actually been in a whirlwind of visitors, all of them wonderful and welcome, with little time for our usual activities although I managed stosnatch some time and go with Rachel to Shouk Ramle to find all sorts of things we probably didn't need but bought because they were so cheap and the weather was so hot and we wanted to get out quickly before the masses of human beings arrived!

The JNF/KKL is under fire for abiding by the law when selling property belonging to them. Talk about damned if you do and damned if you don't! Abide by the law or do what the noisy bloggers believe? Actually not a difficult decision. The KKL is a fine organisation and has brought Jews together through their little blue box for over a century and it is time that we learn to “mefargen” to encourage through compliments, our wonderful organisations.

The UK supermarket chain Sainsburys, traditionally pro-Israel, is under threat by the BDS people to stop selling Israeli products. As a reaction Standwithus is asking all Brits to buy Israeli goods at Sainsburys branches in direct reaction to the racist calls. July 1st to the 7th – GET BUYING!!!!

John Kerry is in Jerusalem and hopefully will understand that Israel is willing to sit and talk and abide by the rules that have been accepted by both sides, not those that the Palestinians put on the table that were basically leading to the extinction of Israel! I wonder if he reads the writings of Khaled Abu Toameh on the journey to Israel If he did he would probably learn more than his administration would like. If he read Khaleds articles he would no that Jews are unwelcome in the negotiating teams.No Jews Allowed

The Archbishop of Canterbury, a fine man, was in Jerusalem this week and his response to the oppression of Christians in the PA was to turn the other cheek. Maybe the Christians in Islamic countries would disagree?

By the way – have you noticed that all the politicians, diplomats and religious leaders that exhort the efforts to live together in peace – yet always stay in Jerusalem, usually at the Kind David or the David's Citadel? If things are so good and their lives were not in danger why don't they stay in the fine hotels in Ramallah?
This BBC documentary tell the phenomenal story and video of soldiers visiting Auschwitz /Birkenau and then author Tommy Segev talks of the Period of Silence for those who survived the Holocaust to come to Israel. Really important viewing.

US Marine Gunnery Sgt. Edward Schrank came to Israel with the Wounded Veterans and this is what he had to say. With one eye he sees a million times clearer than those with two good eyes.

This has been a good week! We actually managed to have a qiet few minutes with Danny and Jehudit Liwerant although she was exhausted after teaching at the Hebrew University and packing to go back to Mexico. We saw Saul Same who has now moved to Tel Aviv for the second part of his visit. I love ht fct that a 95 year old man is happy to come to Israel every year to see his family (he was born in Be'er Tuvia and moved to Australia with his family as a small child) and to be with us, his adoring friends. What a man! His love for Israel is tangible. We even managed a quick hug with Helene and Ilan Lindenfeld in Tel Aviv before the whole family came to Jerusalem. Since then we have been t rying to meet up despite their incredible itinerary – and w managed to bring the entire Lindenfeld family (Helene, Martin, Ariella, Ilan and Jeremy) to have lunch on our veranda. They brought the lovely Michael and Rosalyn and their son with them which made our joy complete! It really was so much fun, just sitting and shooting the breeze. Of course martin would have been much happier had two things happened........ if Kim had stayed on and if I had served fresh felafel!!! Actually he should hav egone up north for his felafel because that is where you find th best felafel in Israel – in Zehavas Felafel in Beit Shean.

We have more delightful friends coming for supper tonight, the Claars, Kerens and Meitals, but I couldn't resist picking the children up from school before finishing this letter and my final preparations. I love the way they run out to me filled with stories and news! They know that Safta always has a surprise for them but I try to be unpredictable!! Rachel had already finished her cooking – I love checking out her table for Shabbat, she really is an amazing cook! The funny thing is that when she married Igal all his Kurdish friends thought he would never eat properly again marrying an Ashkenazi wife.. Ashkenazi British wife to boot!!!!! Well, wrong on all counts. She is a terrific cook and he is very happy with every delicious mouthful! She does killer matbucha, wonderful tabouleh, aubergine with tehina.......and all the marvellous things her imagination dreams up.

Coming home past Samuels Tomb I realised that the city, laying before me as usual, was hazy from the heat. In winter it is always so crystal clear and now, as if wanting to protect herself from the burning sun, she had a gentle covering of voile-like haze.

Talking of Kim....our beautiful friend who created the Children of Israel Foundation to help those in need in Israel, asked me to make a video, talking about my writing and to my amazement I agreed!!!! Anyway- here it is. So far friend have expressed approval so I hope you do too.
Sheila Raviv on her veranda

In a few minutes Zvi comes back from his course, his brain filled with Buddhism, Hinduism, Bahai, all much more complex than the three monotheisitic religions and then we go off to Danby and Marvins for a late lunch and a reunion for all the “students” who went to Italy with Zvi.
I wish you Shabbat Shalom and hope that your lives are also filled with family and friends. It may sound tiring but tonight, as we sit out on the veranda, enjoying th company and watching the ever changing view of Jerusalem from our veranda. Zvi will sing the kiddush in his wonderful bass-baritone voice and we will make the blessing over the home made Challot under the Jerusalem skies. We feel so privileged.

With much love from our family to yours

Please read on - please
I have never done this before but by sad coincidence, the wonderful organisation that I wrote about this week is in dire straits. The Yuri Stern Foundation... I wrote
MK Yuri Stern (z”l) was an exceptional man who, when he became very ill, his wife and her friends gave many forms of holistic healing in order to alleviate his pain, anxiety and discomfort. After Yuri died Lena decided to use the knowledge she and her fellow specialists in complementary medicine and built an organisation which works with Shaare Zedek Hospital and gives treatments to cancer patients and their families. All the therapists are volunteers – they give one day a week to treat people undergoing chemotherapy or the after effects of treatment both at the hospital and in their clinic and for their families who are often in trauma. It is a truly sacred

The therapists give their time and expertise for free at Shaare Zedek, they are all volunteers, but the organisation costs money and their tiny outside clinic pays rent. The clinic has two therapists who act as administrators and although they work full days they are paid for half days! They are running out of funds. They desperately need money to tide them over this period. They get nothing from the government or from the health funds (Kupat Holim). Is there any way you can help them? They do not ask for huge amounts - every shekel helps - but sadly it is urgent.
I feel no embarrassment in asking because the cause is phenomenal and helps thousands of people through the toughest time of their life.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Shabbat shalom from Jerusalem. 5th Presidential Conference, Palestinian PM resign, Impact-se and Yuri Shtern Foundation


21st June 2013

Shabbat Shalom to you dear friends

This has been an incredible week for Israel, an amazing week for Jerusalem and a celebration for President Peres. He is 90 years old in August and the Presidential Conference this year was dedicated to his birthday. Not many nonogenarian Presidents in the world eh? Sharon Stone, Tony Blair, President Clinton, Dr Ruth, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and the inimitable Robert de Niro all paid their respects alongside Presidents, Prime Ministers, Princes and leaders of the business world.

For me the two greatest gems were - Ayaan HIrsi Ali who speaks so wisely and I LOVED the fact that De Niro sat in front of the Israeli flag and said Let me just make sure you got this picture of me in Israel in front of that big Israeli flag to show those Anti-Israel douche bag that they are lying sacks of manure” – Robert De Niro

If you wish you can see many of the sessions and speeches on this site.

I love networking and spent much time so doing. I was amazed and flattered when my photograph was taken by the lovely Steve Linde (Editor in Chief of the Jerusalem Post) and he put it and me on Facebook!!!! 

Barbra sang Hatikva in the Bloomfield Stadium in Tel Aviv before a crowd of 16,000 wild fans. She began by explaining the anthem as a poem written long ago – a poem of longing and hope.........

President Peres may be 90 but Zvi and I celebrate 18 years since our wedding – our Chai Anniversary on Sunday!! Of those who were at our wedding from afar, we saw both Saul Same and Robert Simons this week, they were there – dancing under the Walls of the Old City as our children held the Chuppa and Rachel served as my Maiden of Honour. It was wonderful!!!
OK Now to the serious elements of this missive

The new Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority has resigned! What could have caused this move? Less than a month after he was sworn in, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah on Thursday submitted his resignation to PA President Mahmoud Abbas.

Troubles over the new Iranian leader too. His son committed suicide because of his fathers extremism.

Tag Machir is the name of a group of young thugs who think that by painting abusive messages on walls and cutting the car tyres of Israeli Arabs they are fighting some insane battle for truth. Their latest victims are the wonderful people of Abu Ghosh. Abu Ghosh situated near the entrance to Jerusalem has always been pro-Israel. During the British Mandate (occupation) they fought on the side of Israel and also many serve voluntarily in the IDF. I want these louts, thugs, oafs to STOP their inane violence – they do not speak for Israel.

When talking of refugees, too often the Jewish refugees from Arab countries are forgotten, too often they remain the Forgotten Refugees. It is time to redress the balance and demand compensation for their property so cruelly taken from them when they fled or were exiled from their homes in Arab States.

It is easy to forget that Iraq was Babylon where yet again we were taken as slaves from our homeland. – By theRivers of Babylon Where we sat down yeah we wept when we remembered Zion - Taken away in captivity-

Pat Condell has been called many names – because he dares to tell the truth that none of our leaders are willing to risk. Here is his latest offering. Singling out a billion Moslems.

Our wonderful friend Kim Taylor was here for the Presidents Conference and to breathe in the air of our Jerusalem – he loves this place so much. I took Kim to the offices of IMPACT-SE (impact-se.organd Professor Eldad Pardo explained the purpose of researching the schoolbooks of the region, using criteria set in UNESCO by our founder Prof. Yochanan Manor, the criteria of respect and tolerance of the “other”. That schoolbooks do not denigrate the other but embrace them into their society. In other words learning love not hate. Kim was astonished at th e work done by the organisation.

From Impact we went to the most incredible place I have been to for many a year. MK Yuri Stern (z”l) was an exceptional man who, when he became very ill, his wife and her friends gave many forms of holistic healing in order to alleviate his pain, anxiety and discomfort. After Yuri died Lena decided to use the knowledge she and her fellow specialists in complementary medicine and built an organisation which works with Shaare Zedek Hospital and gives treatments to cancer patients and their families. All the therapists are volunteers – they give one day a week to treat people undergoing chemotherapy or the after effects of treatment both at the hospital and in their clinic. It is a sacred place, truly sacred.

I hardly had time to see my grandchildren and certainly not to see my Jerusalem friends this week. It all began with Shabbat Lunch with Saul and Joshua Same (the beautiful Saul still comes every year despite being nearly 95 years old) and with David and Libi Efron. Then we had supper with Avram and Mindeleh Jasqui, then Sunday lunch with Harry and Nancy Bloomfield and their lovely party in the Anna Ticho House where we were joined by Michael Dickson who explained the wonders of StandwithUs ( to the Bloomfields.......and went on to meeting the outstanding former President of Mexico, Ernesto Zedillo – a charming supporter of Israel – in the King David. We were there as Barbra arrived but they brought her in through the back door, full security, mush to the chagrin of some of her fans who were waiting for a glimpse! I had coffee with Andrea Kovens dear friends Renee and Terri at the Israel Museum and then our beautiful friends Pauline and John Gandel arrived and we thought we wouldn't see them but we did – indeed we managed lots of hugs and lunch at the Botanical Gardens and even the wonders of the stuffed vegetables of Ima Restaurant!So you see, we really had no time to breathe! We decided to spend tonight in Tel Aviv and have Shabbat dinner with Helene and Ilan and do absolutely nothing!!!!

When I contemplate on Israel, what she does for the world, what she means to us, what every place name means historically and Biblically I find it harder and harder to understand the antipathy of the world. We wish no-one harm, indeed if our enemies would just let us live in peace we could give them an infinitely better way of life and work together to ease their pain; we are the first on the scene to help others in distress; we have literally changed the world through our high-tech, medical and scientific research to say nothing of literature and the arts........... so why? Why is the tide of hatred so strong? Why is the hatred directed at us and not at those who would bring oppression to those very people who denounce us and support them? Why? I wish I had the answer.

Next week I will send you the video of me on our veranda talking to the world through the eyes of Dr Kim Taylors Children of Israel Foundation – my family and close friends love the video and I of course am less sure!!

The veranda is amazing, the flowers glorious, the fruit growing fast, the herbs leave their aroma hanging in the summer air and the pomegranate tree is forming tiny red fruits looking toward Rosh hashana. I wish you could see what I see. I wish you could see the view, breathe the air, understand the beauty absorb your own history in every step you take. Wish you were here.................

Shlomo Artzi is Israels most famous singer - he caused Barbra to raise a tear at the concert for Shimon Peres. My favourite song of his is about the cost of finding our place and peace in the Middle East. In this old video he sings with his son Ben

With much love from Jerusalem, the most vibrant, beautiful, colourful, glistening, hopeful, multicultural meaningful city in the world

Shabbat Shalom dear friends
Shabbat Shalom


Mi ha'ish
Hachafetz chayim
Ohev yamim
Lir'ot tov
Netzor leshoncha meira
Us'fatecha midaber mirma
Sur meira
Va'asei tov
Bakesh shalom
Who is the man
Who desires life
Who loves all his days
To see good
Guard your tongue from evil
And your lips from speaking deceit
Turn away from bad
And do good
Seek peace
And pursue it

Friday, 14 June 2013

Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem. Turkey, Iran, Canada in the UN


14th June 2013

Shabbat Shalom! I hope this missive finds you well.

Isn't it strange how history is re-written? The songs and love-beads of the sixties belie the truth that there were violent demonstrations which brought about enormous changes. Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr were assassinated and university campuses were cauldrons of change. The demonstrations and rebellions of the past bear little resemblance to the horrific demonstrations of the so-called “Arab Spring” but Turkey is different. Turkey has gone from democracy and religious freedom to a suffocating dictatorship in the blink of an eye. The Turkish demonstrations during the day are those of freedom loving ordinary folk and at night they metamorphose into........ watch the bloody truth hear the words.!

Canada is proof positive that a great leader can bring about a force for freedom and justice. This video is short and shows how a country can be principled as Canadas representative stands up to condemn Richard Falk and his foul lambasting of Israel
Hon. Jason Kenney (Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, CPC):Mr. Speaker, Richard Falk is an embarrassment to the United Nations Human Rights Council. He has praised 9/11 conspiracy theorists repeatedly. He has suggested that the United States provoked terrorist attacks against it. He is now attacking Canadian-led UN Watch. We call on Richard Falk to be fired as a special rapporteur of the United Nations Human Rights Council. He is a disgrace to that body and the United Nations.
The plight of the Christians in Gaza seems ot be of no concern for most of the leaders in the Christian world . They seem not to care as they cared not about the Christians of Sudan, Lebanon or most Islamic countries.

Hamas is miffed with Iran because Hamas refuses to side with Assad so the Iranians moved their funding of Hamas – and in Lebanon Hez-Allah is on its way to a similar fate! Gosh this is a complex situation!! Until the Western Leadership understands that it is first a Sunni-Shia issue and then an anti-West issue they will never reach any solutions. It is so easy to point at Israel because this is the only country they all hate equally! Their success until now has been a clever subliminal racism against all Dhimmi and Infidels by choosing Israel as the focus of their vitriol – after all – as Tom Lehrer said “Everybody hates the Jews”

Things are no better in the Palestinian Authority. Khaled Abu Toameh wrote this “The Fatah thugs are regularly sent by the Palestinian Authority, which is funded by the West, to threaten and batter journalists, writers, university students and political opponents -- driving them into the open arms of Hamas and other extremist groups.
Until recently, the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank used to arrest Palestinians who criticized its leaders, especially Mahmoud Abbas. But now the Palestinian Authority has resumed using thugs to break the bones of its critics.”
And so to sweeter thoughts.................
I told you Waze was incredible. When in the States we used Waze because the American GPS got us lost and didn't tell us about speed traps, traffic jams or road works! Now Google has bought Waze and each and every one of the workers is a millionaire as the owners share their good fortune!! It is a free app (download) for your phone or tablet.!

Nicky's Family, possibly in a theatre near you. It is the story of Nicholas Winton, an incredible man who saw no obstacle as too high or too hard to save thousands of Jewish lives during WW2.

Cliff Richard is coming to Israel. It isn't his first visit however. He made this recording of Jerusalem of Gold some time ago. Needless to say Cliff doesn't need to have the relevance of Jerusalem explained to him.....he is a devout Christian!!

This has been a full week of wonderful friends and family. We went to Tel Aviv to see Kitty and Peter Hammerman who are here from Australia. They are such wonderful people and we had an extra treat when Petter came to Jerusalem and we met in Mahane Yehuda – yes he was thrilled by the noise and aromas, the colours and the spices, the Felafel and the oh so Jerusalem flavours!!!
We saw Barry and Cristine Slawsky who are still on their extended honeymoon and loving every second – they are so in love!!! They are thrilled to be here during the Presidential Conference and loved their invitations. In the meantime they are off on the yacht for a short cruise.

Sandra and Moi had a day of Zvitours – going to the amazingly beautiful Supreme Court and back to the Israel Museum then meeting for lunch at …...... Mifgash ha Aish. They have now gone back to Mexico and we miss them. Of course the Presidential Conference and the Hebrew University have brought a whole slew of friends too. I love it. We met with Avraham and Mindeleh Jasqui last night although our attempts to see our beautiful Saul Same failed since the streets of central Jerusalem were humming loudly with the sound of Formula One and supercharged saloon cars racing around. It was so exciting for my beautiful grandchildren who couldn't believe that they saw a Maserati, a Lambourghini and a Ferrari all within moments!!! It was fun but completely froze the centre of town!

Last night I went to a Board Meeting of the incredible organisation that I am so proud to be part of. I am a very small part – the real work is done by Professors and post-grad students of the Hebrew University poring over and analysing the schoolbooks of the Islamic world and Islamic schools around the world ensuring that the standards of tolerance set by UNESCO are adhered to. We also check Israeli schoolbooks. The Board is a group of very special people, experts in the Arab world whether through legal, diplomatic or academic routes. I am so proud to be part of IMPACT-SE and each and every project.

We went to a wedding two days ago. It was an incredibly Jerusalem wedding despite its location – near Nes Zion (which means Standard of Zion not miracle as they thought!). What is a Jerusalem wedding? Well, As the time neared for the Chuppah, suddenly all the young men began to dance around the groom ultimately bringing him to his bride who was seated on a flower bedecked chair to “bedecken hakalah” to check that the bride is really Rachel not Leah as Jacob was “deceived” in the Bible story. After the girls had danced round the bride. The highly enthusiastic boys/men took the groom to th Chuppah as the parents of the bride gently led their daughter to the fun chuppah with music and hippie style musician playing their way through the 7 blessings....... it was fabulous! What made it so much more exciting is that most of the young people involved in the wedding – including the bride and groom – are the future politicians and diplomats of Jerusalem and of Israel. They care, they are involved and they matter.

So we come to the end of another week. Tomorrow we have the family coming for lunch, also David and Libi Efron, Saul and Joshua Same and with a bit of luck maybe Barry and Cristine will come too. On Sunday Nancy and Harry Bloomfield and our friends the Gandels arrive... and Kim is flying all the way from Calgary!!! In the evening Zvi and his choir “Hakol Yachasi” will perform at the opening of the KKL/JNF Directors Conference and Zvi, who is the MC, will introduce them to Yaakov Shtrizhak, our wonderful new friend, new immigrant, brilliant singer. They will sing Israeli songs that made aliya and Yaakov has learned the Ladino song Adio Querida, which laments the expulsion of the Jews from their beloved Spain, of their dismay that Spain betrayed them

Shabbat is coming and this wonderful city is getting back to readying herself for Shabbat – a slightly traumatised bride after the roaring success of Formula One!! It promises to be a beautiful evening, not too hot, just perfect.

Jerusalem will be bubbling this week with the Hebrew University meetings, JNF/KKL, and of course the phenomenal Presidential Conference – with Barbra Streisand, Bill Clinton, Tony Blair,Robert de Niro, and so very many other incredible people all of whom believe in this country and come to support her........... and to wish President Peres a Happy 90th Birthday!

Judaism reveres the woman so much so that part of the Friday night home service includes this beautiful poem called Woman of Worth Shabbat Shalom dear people. Shabbat Shalom, may your prayers be answered and your dreams be sweet.

I say goodbye with my favourite of King Davids Psalms – the psalm of my childhood, the psalm written right here on the very streets of this incredible City – Jerusalem. You know the words and here the Cantor sings in the original language, the language of our forefathers. Hebrew.

With much love

Friday, 7 June 2013

Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem- 6 Day War, Turkey,Bobby Kennedy, EUFA under 21,


Friday, 7th June 2013

Shabbat Shalom dear friends.

Do you remember where you were on this date in 1967? I was glued to the television set, awed by the successes of the Israeli Army as the mighty forces of 6 countries battled to push us into the sea. I lived in Cardiff, South Wales and our Young JNF group tried to work out how to raise money for Israel without asking for actual money – and came up with a plan. We chose to ask people to empty their “Blue Boxes” and each house that we went to not only gave us their boxes but added to it and then spoke to their non-Jewish neighbours who pushed money at us thrilled at our – Israel's – military genius. What a wonderful and different world it was.

The Jewish world rejoiced indeed the whole world rejoiced when after 19 years of Jordanian rule Jerusalem was taken in a fierce series of battles culminating in the words of General Motte Gur "Har haBayit beyadenu" The Temple Mount is in our hands. In the words of Chief of Staff Yitzchak Rabin
“I felt truly shaken and stood there murmuring a prayer for peace. Motta Gur’s paratroopers were struggling to reach the Wall and touch it. We stood among a tangle of rugged, battle-weary men who were unable to believe their eyes or restrain their emotions. Their eyes were moist with tears, their speech incoherent. The overwhelming desire was to cling to the Wall, to hold on to that great moment as long as possible.”

The 1967 Israeli song contest had just taken place and a beautiful song, written by Nomi Shemer and sung by Shuli Natan, won the hearts and minds of the entire country. It sang of our yearning for Jerusalem – Yerushalyim Shel Zahav – Jerusalem of Gold. Here the late Ofra Haza sings of our longing including the final verse, written after the Six Day War, which talks of our return to the alleyways of the shouk and the road to Jericho and of course the Temple Mount – which is not in our hands but............ in our hearts

Israeli woman wrestler Ilana Kartysh met Enas Mostafa of Egypt met for the Golden Grand Prix wrestling championship match in Italy. From the outset, Mostafa refused to shake hands with her Israeli rival. During the fight, she broke two of the Israeli's fingers and bit her in the back – causing her to bleed. At the end of the match, unsurprisingly, she refused to shake hands with her again. Showing her true colours – blue and white through and through – Ilana won the Championship!,7340,L-4386942,00.html

Having spoken to friends in Turkey I understand that the demonstrations in Turkey have two sides. During the day the natural demonstrators are the middle class, enjoying a "Woodstock" like experience while expressing their dislike for the current administration - demanding the repeal of the edict banning kissing in the street etc. At night the more violent rebels hit the streets and that is what you see on the television news. Turks enjoyed enormous freedom, not just religious but civil freedom, and they will not give it up easily. Erdogan may just have met his match in his own people. His reign may well be over. He failed to bring Turkey into the EEC; he failed in his decision to align with Syria; he failed in his choice to malign Israel to curry favour with the Arab world and his policies are bringing Turkey to economic disaster.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry just issued the following announcement expressing sorrow that Austria is withdrawing its UNDORF presence on the Syrian/Israel border
Israel regrets Austria's withdrawal from UNDOF
(Communicated by the Foreign Ministry Spokesman)

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel was notified today (6 June) by its Austrian counterpart about the decision of the Austrian government to withdraw their soldiers from UNDOF. While appreciating Austria's longtime contribution and commitment to peacekeeping in the Middle East, we nevertheless regret this decision and hope that it will not be conducive to further escalation in the region.

Israel expects the United Nations to uphold its commitment under Security Council Resolution 350 (1974)by virtue of which UNDOF was established.

Robert Kennedy was a 22 year old reporter when he came to the nascent state of Israel and for many years his words were lost. He describes a situation little recognised and it was what he learned then that made him a huge supporter of Israel and ultimately caused his violent demise as a Palestinian shot him and deprived the United States of a truly fine President.

Yesterday the European Football (Soccer) Championships for U21 (under 21yrs old) opened at the new and beautiful Netanya Football Stadium. Over 150 countries and an estimated 200 million people will be watching the tournament as it takes place in Israel. I congratulate the European Football Association (UEFA) for not giving in to BDS-Pro Palestinian pressure which wanted to boycott Israel and have the championship in another country. The Israeli U21 team is composed of the best young Jews & Arabs playing soccer in Israel Soccer League. Hopefully it will be televised internationally so that you can yell for our team!!

The IsraAid team come to the rescue again! They are leading in the clean up after the disastrous tornadoes that ripped apart wide areas in Oklahoma. Volunteers who arrived after the first tornado were trapped by the further tornadoes but it didn't dampen their determination or enthusiasm to help those in need and join the clean-up. Israel – the country that gives back. This video shows the extent of the disaster and the love these Israelis give and get .

Knaidel, kneidel, kneidle, knaydel - what is the right spelling and why is it important? Because that is the word that won Arvind the national spelling bee in the USA!!!!!!!

The Jerusalem Light Festival begins on the 13th of June. Trails through the Old City taking you to incredible sights and sites...... laser shows, holograms, shows and everything imaginable to celebrate this beautiful city!

I dare you not to laugh when the extremely effective Minister of Education, Rabbi Shai Piron, got a fit of the giggles during his speech in the Knesset. We are so used to seeing fights and insults from around the world's parliaments that this is a delight!!!!

Last week, when I spoke of my delight at having my family here with me in Jerusalem I didn't tell you the whole truth. My greatest delight was when, straight off the plane, I took Steve, Claire and Jake to meet their little cousins and watching Yosef, Talia and Ayala hugging and kissing them, thrilled to discover family that comes to Israel! They really enjoyed the most important sight in Jerusalem – The View from our Veranda!!!!
My family kept me company for the first part of Zvi's journey to Italy, which he loved although it was tough. I have no doubt that he was the star.. will have to check with Danby on that one! He came home with invitations to visit some of the group in the North – Arab women and a Bedouin couple – all of whom were taking the same University course and enjoyed my husbands humour and knowledge in equal parts!!!!

So my friends, this Shabbat we should all pray for that most elusive of states – peace. So much pain and torment around this tortured globe – yet the world seems to concentrate on us, as usual pointing at the easy target while leaving the big bullies with nothing but a wagged finger. Maybe we should pray for justice rather than peace because with even a smidgen of justice in this world peace would come of its own volition.

I suddenly thought, before June 1967 the View from our Veranda would have been a somewhat treacherous sight. Beit Safafa would have been split into two and families separated for 19 years and we would have been looking down at Jordanian troops who had no compunction in shooting at us. How odd – those Jordanian enemies are now our allies (unofficially) and the families of Beit Safafa are only separated by the brand spanking new road which will run through, with a walkway over the top so they can still visit each other with ease!!!!!

Shabbat Shalom and much love

PS The Ilan and Assaf Ramon International Airport has begun construction!!! In the desert sands at Timna it should prove to be a wonderful alternative to the already overcrowded Ben Gurion International.

PPS Apparently Prime Minister Netanyahu's visit to Moscow was not in vain............. Putin has delayed the delivery of missiles to Syria. That's worth a bed or two!!!