Friday, 28 March 2014

Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem. Pollard, Canada recognises Jewish refugees, Crimea

27th March 2014

Shabbat Shalom dear friends. How are you? Is the crazy weather keeping you warm, cold or uncertain?

Canada recognises Jewish refugees from Arab countries. Canadian Members of Parliament joined together across party lines to concur with the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development Report on Jewish Refugees from Arab Lands. Nearly 900,000 Jews fled Arab countries without recognition. Central to the current narrative is the false notion that only one group of victimized refugee population exists, namely the ‘Palestinians’. In order to discredit the anti-Zionist narrative and pave the road to peace, it must be acknowledged that there were two refugee populations, both of which are entitled to redress. Without recognition of that fact there can be no just peace agreement. 

The worlds eyes are fixed upon the Crimea, the peninsular that brings back memories of a cruel, hand-to-hand war of yesteryear. Dr. Nir Boms has written an excellent piece about the situation, about the reemergence of the Cold War and the winning tyranny of Putin because unlike the previous cold war this is a stronger Russia and a weaker USA. Twice there was a cold war and America was weak it culminated in world wars. The only ray of hope is that Putin tyranny is severe enough to stop the Islamic takeover. What a complex world we live in.

Saeb Erekat, spokesman for the PA says that the Palestinians are not willing to meet with Americans until Israel meets her obligations. They what?? Are they kidding? Does anyone believe them? Israel stood by every one of her obligations, going even further than demanded, but the Palestinians did not fulfil even one of theirs! Erekat takes political and diplomatic rhetoric to extents never known before.He is referring to Israel's uncertainty about the final (?) release of prisoners since these include killers with blood of soldiers on their hands. The biggest question is what did we gain by former releases other than more terror?

It has been whispered that if Israel releases these killers and assassins the United States may, repeat may, release Jonathan Pollard. Pollard has no blood on his hands, has been held longer than any spy, including those who spied for enemy countries against the United States yet we are still being played emotionally to free a very sick man. It is not President Obama it is an issue of Presidents past and present who claimed to be friends of Israel. The bad guy of this scenario is Casper Wienberger who reneged on an agreement with Pollards lawyers for a 7 year sentence....28 years is cruel and unjust. One man who spied for Israel and we are told that if we release prisoners with a great deal of blood on their hands and still plot to erase the Jewish State we MAY get Pollard back. Nu really! The release of the terrorists has been delayed over negotiations.

It is important to note that the Palestinians have nothing to gain and a great deal to lose by signing an agreement. As a dependency they receive vast amounts of aid, money and publicity without any repercussions for lying, killing and corruption. 

Over 150 Israeli, Arabic-speaking Christians demonstrated outside the European Union mission in Tel Aviv, demanding that the international community stop nitpicking against Israel and start combatting the severe persecution of Christians everywhere else in the Middle East. “Nations, organizations and international missions are quick to raise an accusing finger against Israel at every opportunity,” said Father Gabriel Nadaf, spiritual father of the Israeli Christian Recruitment Forum, which organized the rally. Those same nations and organizations “don’t life a finger against the ethnic cleansing of Christians in the Middle East,” the priest continued.

Dr Tawfik Hamid, an Egyptian doctor, reformer, thinker and former bigwig in Hamas tells the truth of the situation in the Middle East. He remonstrates the world for believing the rhetoric which is extreme in its exploitation of Israel

BDS is losing hand over raised fist. Most obvious and rather exciting is the huge number of famous, really famous artistes coming to perform here, or just to visit. Here is a list of artistes who came to Israel - or just some of them. The Rolling Stones are coming in the summer, tickets are prohibitivly expensive but Israelis will flock to see them BDS Bias, Destruction and Stupidity 

PA claims the Western Wall is part of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and therefore off limits for Jews

And now to something completely different!!!!

Last Friday night we went to Danby and Marvin Meital for a delicious and beautifully traditional dinner. First we went to their synagogue to welcome the bride of Shabbat and heard the wonderful sermon/explanation by Rabbi Reuven Hammer who, together with the late Rabbi Dr Louis Jacobs, formed the Masorti movement in London which so closely remembles the Orthodox synagogues of old. After the service we walked to Danby and Marvins home where we were joined by our mutual friends Shelagh and Baruch Shalev and a fascinating visitor. Zed is from Eritrea, fluent in Hebrew, written and spoken, loves everything connected with Judasim and is delightful, educated with perfect English too. This handsome young man has seen terrible tragedies in his life, was imprisoned in his home country for disagreeing with the administration, escaped and walked to Sinai, saw things no-one should see and came to Israel. He has been here for 6 years but his visa has expired and he will go to the camp for illegal immigrants in a very short time. Zed is a Christian who had a work visa but now the Ministry of the interior is just too swamped to review his case. Nothing is clear cut.

Omid Djalili is a very clever stand up comedian, a former barrister, and Iranian who makes it clear that he is not an Arab - Iranians are not Arabs. This skit is about seeing Arabs at airports

Prof Paul and Vivien Zimmet are a fine example to all in their dedication to Israel. Despite the tedious journey from Australia they never say "It's too far or it's too  difficult" - they just come! They are gorgeous people. On Wednesday we went with their group to the main depot of the Jerusalem Light Rail where we were given a tour and saw the terrific job the light rail has done in reviving the centre of Jerusalem and the incredible increase of passengers including Zvi and I! The Zimmets were stuck in deep snow on Mount Hermon-  back to the heat of Tel Aviv and on the fascination of Jerusalem on a bright and sunny day. They ate in IDF mess tents and high class restaurants with equal relish. They will be back in two months when Paul will receive a well deserved honorary doctorate from Tel Aviv University.

Our other visitors this week were Pierre and Christine LaPointe dear friends of  Nancy and Harry Bloomfield from Montreal. It is their first time in Israel but far from the last. I loved their hunger for each and every fact presented and every new sight they saw. I was determined they experience the real Jerusalem for supper at Zion ha Gadol and they adored the noise and simple delights of a real Middle Eastern restaurant. Honest food, innumerable salads, freshly baked Iraqi Pitta, wonderful spring chicken, charcoal grilled on skewers and Jerusalem life. No posh restaurant could have come close to their delight both culinary and sensory.

If you believe the world hates us then watch this wonderful video shows. A Moslem choir singing the song "Haben Yakir Li"

So another Shabbat draws near. Yesterday I collected my two little granddaughters from school and took them home where the large mound of leavened dough awaited us to perform the mitzva of "hafrashat challa", taking a small portion of the dough and burning it as an offering before making the Challot. It was so emotional, 3 generations performing an ancient tradition together. Prayers said during the hafrasha are considered very special and Rachels amazing Challa recipe will grace our table tonight.

Jerusalem is preparing for Pesach. The religious supermarkets are cleaning their shelves scrubbing and brushing, under, over and around every corner as we do in our homes. Today I cleaned the silver - my least favourite job - to get it out the way. The normal aromas of delicious ethnic food are slowly being replaced by the strong smell of cleaning fluids and bleach! Every corner is steamed or vacuumed! The shops are filled with "specials" on cleaning fluids and vacuum cleaners and clothes stores have one day sales to say nothing of the gift buying which takes place. This is a country of gift giving - everyone gives everyone else gifts- it is a major part of Israeli life!

The major shopping spree for Passover food is about to begin. If I manage to prepare the apartment in time I will get all my non-fridge food early so that the check-out queues will be a fraction shorter. Some supermarkets are open 24 hours a day for the few days leading up to Passover and queues are just as long at 2 am as 2pm!!!

"Who hears music, feels his solitude peopled at once.” Robert Browning
The songs this week display the true feeling of Israelis and our innate search for peace. The first is Moshe Ben Ari together with the Sheba choir singing "Od Yavo Shalom Aleinu" Peace will come to us.  The second is  Shir laShalom - a Song to Peace with Adam Lambert. The song begs to let the sun rise and the flowers grow -  a prayer for and to peace - it was the last song Yitzchak Rabin sang before his diabolical assassination 

I wish you a Shabbat Shalom and much love from Jerusalem, the city I love, the city that brings us all together yet splits us assunder through jealousies and hate. Jerusalem, the city with no less than 70 names in the Tenach including Ir Shalem (complete city) and Ir Shalom (City of peace). Jerusalem, centre of our world.

I just received this incredible video of a wedding in Havat Ronit, Israel all the way from the Ormans in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Truly magnificent singing. A must see - bet you cry!!!!

Friday, 21 March 2014

Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem. Wales, Jeremy Rosen, Scarlett, Purim

21 ‎March ‎2014

Shabbat Shalom dear friends.

So here I am back in Jerusalem after a truly amazing time in the UK with my glorious grandchildren and my loving family. I know how popular it is to "knock" the UK but I enjoyed every second of my visit, am delighted by the warmth and civility of the people, their friendly smiles and incredible willingness to help. I needed to change trains at one of the oldest stations which still has static stairs and everyone, passengers and staff alike, carried, guided, smiled and expressed great warmth. I have never hidden the fact I am Israeli and it has never held me back. I know how popular it is to "knock" the UK but I still get a strong sense of that British Bulldog country that stood up to Hitler and fought so bravely alongside her "Empire". I am sorry Lyse but I blame the BBC for the frightening turn of public opinion against Israel- half a truth is an outright lie.

Did you know that the Crimea was a peninsula? Did you understand the complexities caused by Kruschevs drunken decisions. Wow.

Today the Jerusalem Marathon will halt traffic and interfere with life, but I don't mind. 25,000 people, including the Mayor of Jerusalem Nir Barkat, will run either half or full marathons through the streets of the city, both old and new and a sense of festival will descend upon this wonderful place. There is an expression here in Israel "Kol siba lemesiba"- every reason for a party. Hope the runners enjoy the crisp and beautiful air and remember to thank G-d for their energy and this day. Shabbat Shalom to everyone 

This has been a week of confusion and concern that an entire aeroplane can simply disappear. Indeed, not just disappear but disappear after a strange series of events in which the pilot/s divert from the accepted routine. The Australian government has announced that large pieces of fusilage have appeared on their satellite surveilance screens and their navy is currently heading for the site. AUSTRALIA? The aeroplane's flight plan was in the opposite direction! Was there an attempted hijacking? Did the passengers foil a plot?

The direction of the so-called peace talks between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority is directed by the American government, with all good intentions, but the truth will out as always. It is becoming clearer and clearer that Israel wants the talks to lead to a rational status quo but the Palestinians want to win. Neither the rhetoric of public speaking nor the  hypocrisy of diplomatic talks can be taken as the truth - but any leader who goes to his people, as Abbas did yesterday, and tells them not to worry they will win in the final decisions, is not serious about a peaceful conclusion.Abbas: I Am a Hero. I Said No to Obama by Khaled Abu Toameh

When you hear that the IDF has uncovered an arms tunnel between Gaza and Israel I am sure you think of a skinny, muddy, very basic construction. That is far from the truth. These tunnels are often large enough to transfer vehicles, certainly men, they are well lined with cement, yes the very cement that the Western leaders told us we had to transfer to Gaza because they poor souls couldn't build housing, and solidly and professionally constructed. This particular tunnel was packed with an entire arsenal and emerged next to a kibbutz, a pastoral haven threatened by terror. 

I often quote Rabbi Jeremy Rosen especially when he discusses the Haredi community in Israel and their refusal to give back to the country of their birth and the governments attempt to change the status quo.  The sad fact is that one section of our people has come to expect the other to go to war and die to defend them. That cannot be an ethical position, even if you do believe that serving God is the highest good. Not only, but the bill is offering an alternative to military service; it is called community service. It has even included an agreement with Chabad to exempt a number of young men from community service in Israel to serve communities abroad.

Maurice Ostroff is an exceptionally erudite gentleman and write beautifully about important ossues. His article in the American Thinker concerning Israeli borders and wrongful perceptions thereof is well worth reading. "Conventional Wisdom (CW) is often very wrong. Millions believed the earth is the center of the universe and that smoking is not harmful to human health. So too, CW is wrong about about the "Green line" that delineates the positions of the opposing forces when armistice agreements were concluded in 1949. Politicians who should know better have mistakenly swallowed the factoid that this Green line is a recognized border in terms of international law. But there is no such law.  An armistice is not a peace agreement. It is merely a temporary suspension of hostilities with a view to negotiating a more lasting peace agreement as fully set out in Security Council resolution 242. While there is no legal justification for CW calls for an agreement based on the 1949 armistice lines, there is a binding legal agreement that is highly relevant to determining Israel's future borders. At the San Remo conference in 1920 the Balfour Declaration became entrenched in international law and legally enforceable. The agreement has never been abrogated and is therefore still binding on the parties."

Scarlett Johanson is a rare and special person in tinsel town, she actually cares and has a conscience. The huge furore about her advertisement for Sodastream has not sent her into an hysterial tizzy but rather brought out the strong moral woman in her. I am delighted to announce that unlike Rhett Butler, Scarlett really does give a damn.

There are so many high-points in my visit to the UK, apart from my morning hugs with the children. Purim was special on two counts; one was the special needs service in the synagogue for our beautiful Sammy, thoroughly enjoyed by all of us and the other was the amazing Purim service, the reading of the Story of Esther. The entire synagogue was filled with wildly dressed congregants bearing noisemakers and shakers ready for the name of the dreaded Haman......... even the Rabbi was dressed as a pirate!!! I love the fact that the emphasis was on the fact that we beat an evil Persian leader who wanted to kill us and beat him by our intelligence and wiles. My favourite part is not just Esthers brilliant tactical moves but rather when the King Ahasuerus asks Haman what he would like for the Kings favourite person and then turned the tables on Haman and put Mordechai on his white horse paraded through town as a hero while Haman.................. well Haman was hanged from a high gibbet! Shushan, Persia, Iran, who said history doesn't repeat itself?

My journey down to Wales brought back a million memories. Visiting our parents in the old cemetery with my sister Doreen we passed the graves of so many people of our past (Julia K - I saw your family graves). I was not surprised to see our parents gravestones were leaning toward each other - just as they did in life. Driving around the old streets, walking around my family home, now my brothers home, having dinner with my sisters family, spending time with my brothers family, managing to see Yaffa and Martin and talk of cabbages and kings, and of course my delight when Valerie and Martin drove from Reading to have dinner in a wonderful old pub and came to see my children. Valerie and I "grew" our children together, had a business together and saw each other every day - that sort of love and friendship never changes, you just continue the conversation. Other than that I missed meeting more friends than I can count but I want them to know they are in my heart but I go to the UK to see my children and my siblings. 
I want you to hear three generations of singers from the Land of Song, from Wales. First is Harry Secombe, late beloved comedian (The Goon Show) singing of his Welsh home, the Rhondda Valley Next is Tom Jones with Amazing Grace  finally "Only Boys Aloud" at the final of Britains got Talent singing my very favourite Welsh song Calon Lan which I used to sing as a lullaby for my own children.

So, here I am back as delighted at the view from the veranda as I was the first time the electric blinds rose to reveal it. I see Jerusalem preparing for Shabbat. The sounds are different to last week in London, even the aromas reflect a different ethnic background but the hustle and bustle of preparations and shopping for Shabbat are the same. Whether you buy your Challot from Ami in London or from Nehama in Jerusalem it is irrelevant. The traditions are the same. I love to see the similarities, the Shabbat table, candles, kiddush, challot and shining childrens faces just as we did at our parents table. 
Back in Jerusalem, the city I love, back with my Israeli grandchildren, back in Israel I thought you would like two  diverse songs about this special city. First is the phenomenal Ofra Haza rendition of Jerusalem of Gold at Israel's 50th anniversary celebrations  At the other end of the musical range  I love this song and the video - "Happy" by Pharrell Williams in Jerusalem!

I wish you and yours a Shabbat Shalom, I wish those members of my family and friends who need our prayers a full recovery and all my love. I wish my wonderful friend Canon Andrew White a safe return to his beloved Iraq and blessings on his tireless determination to perform the miracle of peace. Andrew dear, if only we could clone you!

I am off to see my Jerusalem Grandchildren, to tell them stories about their cousins who love them and they love right back. So Shabbat Shalom dear friends, Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem.

With love

If the media does not inform us we must inform the media
Facebook      Sheila Silver Raviv

Friday, 14 March 2014

Shabbat Shalom letter. Purim,standwithus, David Cameron in Israel,missiles on sderot, London


13th March 2014

Shabbat Shalom everyone. Shabbat Shalom from .................. London!!!

I came on the spur of the moment to see my beautiful London family and pop down to Cardiff to see my siblings. I will probably go to my parents graves at the same time, to honour their memories although they are with me every moment and have been all my life it is Jewish tradition to go and "talk" to them.

Things have been tough in the South of Israel as missiles rain down on the residents, as the fury of hatred falls from Gaza. It never completely stopped but this week anything from 40-60 rockets landed on Southern Israel, and we have to thank Heaven and the amazing young people of the Israeli Navy that we captured the long range "gifts" from Iran in the recent IDF action, stopping the ship laden with weapons bound for Hamas. Of course, the Iranians say the ship never existed, Hamas says it wasn't bound for them and Israel knows the truth!!!

Anyway back to the horrific barrage from Gaza - after the cruel salvo Hamas announced that it was halting the "cease fire" because Israel targetted the ringleaders. Isn't it a case of "The fight started when he hit me back"? Prime Minister Netanyahu said "If it is not quiet in southern Israel, it will be very noisy in Gaza,"  and he was true to his word.
Remember the importance of 15 seconds

A Norwegian cruise liner stopped in the port of La Goulette in Tunis and the Tunisian Authorities would not let Israeli nationals disembark. The immediate reaction of the owners was to stop all further passenger visits to La Goulette. See that's what happens when you exercise racism.

British Prime Minister David Cameron was in Jerusalem this week on an official visit. Mr Cameron spoke in the Knesset Plenum, reiterating his support for Israel. Mr Cameron said the Knesset is a “beacon of democracy” and pledged, “with me, you have a British Prime Minister whose belief in Israel is unbreakable and whose commitment to Israel’s security will always be rock solid.” He acknowledged Israel’s vulnerability and commented, “I will always stand up for the right of Israel to defend its citizens. A right enshrined in international law, in natural justice and fundamental morality.” “I have a clear message. Britain opposes boycotts,” in all forms, emphasising that “Israel’s place as a homeland for the Jewish people will never rest on hollow resolutions passed by amateur politicians.”

Just in case Cameron, Obama, Merkel or anyone else has doubts as to Iranian intent read this

International Womens Day came and went without addressing the horrors of FGM. More than 90 percent of Egyptian women have undergone Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), also referred to, misleadingly, as female circumcision. A 14 year old Egyptian girl just died from it. Surely this horrific practice must be stopped? It is barbaric and cruel and changes the child forever. Maybe the European countries should stop worrying about Brit Milah and begin fighting this diabolical practice. President Mubarak was partially successful in eradicating this practice but the moment the Moslem Brotherhood returned to power it returned too.

Standwithus is a truly magnificent organisation that educates and strengthens our young people to go out into the world and tell the true story of Israel, be it  debating ignorant BDS activists on US Campuses or talking to audiences in South Africa. They are such amazing young people and make us proud. See these beautiful Israelis going to South Africa to take on those who dare to claim Israel is an apartheid state. and to understand the work of Standwithus Join Michael Dickson on Facebook to get all your news.

For anyone who still has doubts – listen to this amazing talk on Dr Martin Luther King – my hero

Modern technology meets ancient scrolls. A new method of unravelling the tightly rolled parchment of ancient scrolls has enabled archaeologists to reveal the wonders of 9 ancient Dead Sea scrolls in Jerusalem.

My very special grandson Sammy's school held a religious assembly today. Two Rabbis came to talk to the children, of varying degrees of disability, about Pesach. They loved the singing of Chad Gadya but sadly the Rabbi didn't know my version!!! My family does the sounds of each animal in the song, the kid, the cat, the dog, the bull and of course the sounds of a fire engine for the fire, a sloooooosh for the water, a slice across the neck for the abbatoir worker, a big huge BOOOOOOOOOOOO for the Angel of Death and a huge cheer for Ha Kadosh Baruch Hu - the Holy One Blessed be his name. It would have been fun!!  Yes I know it isn't even Purim yet but the children ate Matza and charoseth and drank grape juice - even the ones in Ra'alas!!!!

Anyway back to Purim, to bravery from unexpected sources and just retribution. For the children it is a simple matter of fancy dress, loads of sweeties and being able to make a huge amount of noise in the synagogue as greggers (noisemakers) are whirled, feet are stomped and whistles blown whenever the name HAMAN is read from the Story of Esther. In truth Purim is so very much more than that and very far from being a childrens story. Purim is an example to us today. It is the story of simple people who stood up for justice for their people; it is the story of false accusations for personal gain; it is the story of hatred for hatreds sake; it is, above all the story of intolerance toward the “other”; it is the story of corrupt use of power. Familiar isn’t it?

This Shabbat I will not watch Jerusalem prepare for the bride but rather my grandchildren will sit by the table with my son and daughter-in-law. They will chant the age-old blessings and their faces will shine as they light the candles. No matter where we are our traditions hold us together as a people. We have been exiled, dipersed and enslaved yet we still rejoice. Today we have returned to our homeland despite all indications and predictions to the contrary. We came home. Medinat Yisrael – the State of Israel.

Yaakov Shweky is a phenomenal Israeli singer. I want you to hear his music
First If I Forget You Oh Jerusalem
Judaism honours its women above all else. Each Friday night, before blessing the wine and the bread (challah) the husband blesses his wife. “A woman of worth……above rubies”
Finally, a song in English and Yiddisch “Tatte” which is that most Jewish of songs and Shwekeys beautiful voice tells the story of every Jew

Tomorrow, Friday morning, I will meet up with my lovely friend Yaffa. Yaffa will talk of her yearning to return to Israel and I will encourage her!!! In the meantime it is Hendon, Middlesex and talk of Jerusalem, Jerusalem Israel’s capital city and the heart and soul of the Jewish People.

One thing the Rabbi did not say at Sammy’s special assembly was that our prayer, history and identity are expressed in the song of yearning that ends the Passover Seder service .   “Next Year in Jerusalem” – le Shana Hab’ah b’Yerushalyim

I am one of the luckiest persons on this earth – for me it is Next week in Jerusalem………….. I just wish my children were beside me.

Shabbat Shalom to you and yours
With love

PS I just thought you would be amused since you tend to describe me as some sort of culinary expert. Well, having finished preparing the chicken soup for my beautiful family I decided to cook the apples (incredible Bramley Apples) ready for the apple crumble of tomorrow. As my daughter Rachel is always warning me, I really should wear my reading glasses when doing………….. anything! I put the sugar into the apples only to realise that it was couscous!! I tried fishing it all out again but we now have a very unusual base for tomorrow crumble. Do you think they will notice????

Friday, 7 March 2014

140307 Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem. Boat capture, Purim, Welsh evening, PM in LA, Canon Andrew White


7th March 2014

Shabbat Shalom dear Friends. I hope this missive finds you well.

I am happy to start on a high note, as usual because we have a wonderful friend by the name of Canon Andrew White. Nothing stops that man, not war, illness nor cynicism. Andrew had a successful meeting in Cyprus which brought together Iraqi Moslems, Christians and Jews and a similar Israeli mix, just to talk. Talk and try to discover their similarities rather and accept their differences. Andrew, the only man who seems to be doing it right. Maybe because he comes from a place of love not from politics. Andrew is now in Jerusalem – I knew because the ambiance is a fraction lighter. Sadly the hope that Andrew engendered through this important conference is dashed when one remembers the absolute despair and carnage in Andrews beloved Iraq.

NYU, that bastion of freedom and high learning held a secret anti-Israel pro-BDS meeting. It is a distressing sign of the times whereby freedom of speech is thus abused to incite hatred. Pure and simple. Can you imagine a proud “hatefest” were announced against any other country or people?

It sounds dramatic, indeed it is dramatic, when the news media screams out the headlines "Israel captures boat with Iranian missiles bound for Gaza" but the truth is it represent many months of hard graft. 
IDF intelligence has been monitoring the activities of the contents of the boat 
from its source in Syria through the long and tortuous route to the Red Sea. 
Shayetet 13 is the elite unit which took the ship without any resistance from the 
Captain. They found several dozen advanced Syrian M-302 missiles, with a range 
of up to 200 kilometers (125 miles) and a payload of up to 170 kilograms (375 
pounds). Even that is not the whole story, the drama is greater than it appears. 
Israel and the United States Intelligence Services have been working closely 
throughout and it was Israel's decision to capture the ship and the Americans 
acceded to their wish. So much happens beneath the surface. The cooling of 
relations has always been at the political, not the military or intelligence level.

What strikes me as incredible is the convoluted machinations of the warmongers in their attempt to wreak havoc – a Panamanian ship, Turkish crew, missiles and a veritable arsenal of evil made in Iran, sent to Syria, through Iraq and Sudan into the Red Sea............. and the fools demonstrating in NYU still think Israel is the problem!!!!

The new Crimean War has taken the headlines here in Israel. As Americas leadership is weakened Russia is becoming stronger and stronger. Rabbi Jeremy Rosen again hits the nail on the head.
As I watched the Sochi Winter Olympics, I thought of Putin’s long shadow was cast, malevolently, over the construction, the management, and the security of the event. I wondered what act of aggression he would get up to next. His smirking, self-satisfied, bullying presence thumbed a nose at the civilized world as he gloated over his support for totalitarian regimes in Chechnya, Syria, Moldova, and Georgia. His malevolent involvement in other countries and the blatant way he suppresses and imprisons opposition at home are chilling. His KGB nature reveals itself for what it is. Well, now we know. A leopard and his spots! “

The AIPAC Conference came and went. Vice President Joe Biden spoke before the plenum and many events took place, undoubtedly taking important decisions but without the publicity which usually accompanies the AIPAC events. Our wonderful friends David Efron and Kathy were very excited by events there so I am certain that it was simply a case of lack of publicity.
Apparently the cooling of Israel/USA relations is deeper than Presidential level and we have always known that the State Department (like the British Foreign Office) is cool toward their closest ally, but has taken a sinister turn with visas being denied for anyone who served in Israeli Intelligence.

When Ambassador Danny Gillerman left his position as Israel's Ambassador to the UN I thought we could never do as well, let alone better, but I was wrong. Ron Prosor, former Ambassador to the Court of St James has done a truly phenomenal job as Israel's Ambassador to that once august organisation.

Not only Syria! Israeli medical teams are not only helping victims of Syrian warfare (over 500 patients to date) but also in the Ukraine.

Alice Herz-Sommer did not just survive the Holocaust, saved by her exceptional musical talent, she endured unbearable tragedy and continued to smile, to exude love and to produce joyous music until her death in London last week at the age of 110. Her life and vivacious personality were her revenge. The film of her amazing life won an Oscar, surely the greatest and sweetest revenge of all.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “Bibi” had dinner with the gliterattti of Hollywood, of those who love Israel anyway. In an informal dinner at the home of Israeli businessman Arnon Milchan. Truly star studded it included Leonardo di Caprio, Barbara Streisand, Robert de Niro, Kate Hudson, Keanu Reeves and many many more. One must not underestimate the influence of these stars .,7340,L-4494923,00.html

Talking of the PM's visit to LA – After the Oscar victory parties, another international star attended the world premiere of his latest film on Tuesday evening. The star was none other than Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, and the title of the television film is Israel: The Royal Tour. The PM, along with some 500 guests, attended the premiere screening of the film expected to significantly increase tourism to Israel. Get a preview of the movie here

Gosh, so much news that I didn't leave much room for personal stuff!

Last Shabbat, since the children came late, Zvi and I went for a glorious walk in “Emek ha Matsleva” The Valley of the Cross. Zvi feels that I am more than a little over-enthusiastic , my excited photography at anything that seemed wild and colourful - shkediot (almond blossom), rakafot (wild cyclamen) and calaniot- wild anemones........... and the most beautiful flowers of all, the children running around in delight at the wild flowers.

Sunday evening saw me driving to Netanya via my lovely friend Averil in Herzliya. Our purpose was to arrive in plenty of time to meet up with our past – our wonderful past as Welsh Jews. You can imagine the excitement of all concerned as we saw people who had somehow dropped from our lives over the last 20/30/40 years. Gerald and Mimi Rapport did us proud as Gerald paraded in his amazing Welsh Dragon Sweatshirt. The tables were set with Welsh Dragon napkins, daffodils and the walls festooned with flags. Imagine, a group of Welsh people, mostly religious, happily celebrating St David's Day – the Welsh National Day. As I look for facts to give you about this Saint I found that he indeed came to Jerusalem because it was believed that if you came to Jerusalem all your former sins were dissolved.

I just got back from collecting the children from school and taking them home before Shabbat. As we neared Givat Zeev we suddenly saw a colossal flock of goats tended by small children. At first I was excited and then wondered why those children were not at school – apparently bettering oneself is not high on the priority list of their parents. So sad because I want everyone in Israel to have equal opportunities but without education............

That's it for now folks. I have to put the finishing touches to Shabbat, set the table and put the food out and of course get all the Purim goodies ready for the children. Masks to colour, boxes for their Mishloach Manot and goodies! Purim, truly a story of heroism over greed. The story of Queen Esther, her fine Uncle Mordechai, a rather stupid King and his evil Vizier who feared the Jews and wanted them killed (yeah yeah yeah – heard that one more than once eh?). Mordechais brains, Esthers beauty and the Kings love for her saved the Jews and taught the evil, greedy Vizier Haman a lesson. Where on earth are Esther and Mordechai today?

So dear friends. Let's make this year into Purim, let's stand up and speak out. We can either bow down to the king or be clever and woo him to understand the evil of his advisors.

For Shabbat I chose three very different songs, with the incredible voice of David D'Or. One is Amazing Grace which he sang for President Obama in our Presidents House the second is the prayer Avinu Malkeinu (Our Father Our King) and finally a very special version of the song which welcomes the bride of Shabbat. Lecha Dodi. Enjoy

With much love from wonderfully balmy, warm and beautiful Jerusalem, about to turn golden as we near Shabbat.

PS I want to brag about my nephew Steven and his beautiful wife Claire. They are not only invited to the Palace for a Royal Garden Party, not only won the award for the best display in Britain but................. have been recognised for their amazing works too!! Bravo to you – I love you!