Thursday, 31 July 2014

Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem - Gaza conflict, what it is like in Israel

30th July 2014

Shalom dear Friends.

I am sorry that you didn't get an update last Friday, that I didn't wish you Shabbat Shalom, but know you were on our minds. Zvi and I took the difficult decision to go with the choir to Romania. It was both wonderful and terrifying to be away from home when our loved ones and country were under such extreme threat, but I think, no I know, Hakol Yechassi represented Israel with pride.

Each "peepee stop" that had wifi was filled with the beeps and rings of incoming messages from family and media so that we could all stay in touch with the situation. We were surprised and pleased to find Israeli flags all over and in the centre of Brasov was a big park in the name of Yitzchak Rabin. A beautiful country, blessed with mountains, forests, lots of rain and sunshine, they welcomed us and encouraged us but it just wasn't home. 

Meanwhile back home - soldiers in Gaza responded to the cries of an eight year old child who begged for their assistance. The soldiers went to help him and as they entered his home a bomb exploded - it was a booby trap......... using an eight year old as a booby trap is beyond our thinking. We do not yet know the toll to Israel but I am sure that child was not spared in the name of Allah.

A few facts and information for you. 
When the media claims we are starving the Gazans just see what we give them during wartime let alone peacetime . COGATs daily report

Foreign journalist received death threats for any anti-Hamas tweets which accuse Hamas of using human shields. Do they report on it? No, they remove the tweets!!!

Two articles sum up the fact that Israel is the free worlds front line, we take the flak, the hatred and the racism so that you can live in freedom.

Richard Littlejohn, fearless British journalist, asks the question, What if Hamas rocket hit a BA plane? 

Wolf Blitzer goes into a Hamas Tunnel, amazed and fearful when he sees the size, expertise and Israeli cement used

Melkamo is an Israeli Officer and a student in the Herzlia Interdisciplinary Centre (University). Melkalmo is an outstanding Ambassador for Israel through Standwithus. Thank you Melkamo you make me proud.  Friends - this needs to go viral. Send it to your media and politicians

Perhaps the most important difference between this and previous "operations" is our Chief of Staff, Benny Gantz. He has given his soldiers, his officers, a clear and simple target, not destroying Hamas unlike Lebanon, the target is clear. We go in, we destroy all the tunnels and we come out with the least possible human injury, both to civilians in Gaza and to our soldiers. The rockets are not necessarily aimed at people - they are part of the war of attrition but the tunnels are specifically built to come out inside Israel to enable the mass slaughter - the ethnic cleansing - of Jews. Lt-General Benjamin Gantz, Israeli Chief of Staff, a fine soldier and a wonderful man.

I am sure that most of you want to know the mood of our little country. We are all horrified by the tunnels system and its deadly purpose. Digging under Israel in order to kill and maim as many Jews as possible in one organised raid on Rosh hashana? Anyone who thinks this isn't horrifically reminiscent of the Nazis is in dreamland.

Sadly, the two countries that Secretary Kerry wants to bring in as arbitrators in this terrible situation, Turkey and Qatar, are both funding Hamas and have suspended diplomatic relations with Israel! Aw c'mon, it is as if Roosevelt wanted Austria and Egypt to broker peace between the UK, Allies and Nazi Germany!!!!!

 The announcement of each soldiers death brings us to a standstill - Is it someone we know? This is a tiny country and everyone knows someone who knows someone. Indeed a young lone soldier was injured and when the news got out that he was in Shaare Zedek hospital the hospital was inundated with thousands of people wanting to bring him food and flowers - and love. 

Until today 56 beautiful boys gave their lives so that we can be free, a small number in terms of war, a huge number for Israel. Here are just some of their wonderful faces  יהי זכרם ברוך

Religious Jews, yes I know, it drives me nuts that they don't serve in the IDF but they have organised food gathering for the troops; in Jerusalem many religious neighborhoods are preparing for "hafrashat challah" ( by huge groups of religious women who will then make little individual challot to be sent down to the troops. I hear you asking why they don't serve but today we have to unite against a common enemy who does not care if you wear a bikini or  humble dresses, we will worry tomorrow about who is in uniform and who believes that by praying for every soldier one can win a war. Indeed today there is a gathering of challot at the Shtibelech ( a 24 hour a day minyan) in Katamon, Jerusalem so that they can be sent down to the soldiers for Shabbat.

Many, many tourists have cancelled their visit to Israel. I understand. If all you hear is the news media, especially if you read the NY Times, Guardian or LA Times, then your choice is obvious. However, if you consider the truth here on the ground, you are still safer on the streets of Tel Aviv, Haifa and Jerusalem than you are in your city!!! In Israel we spent a great deal of money on defending our citizens, and life goes on. Beaches are open, markets are busy, shops are selling, clubs are making just as much noisy music, people are out and enjoying themselves until the early hours, maybe more and more in each others homes but we are relatively safe her. The difference is - we know our enemy. Our enemies are not drug crazed attackers on city streets nor are there violent felons looking for the weak to mug. If you cancel you are giving in to terror, if you cancel you tell Hamas that they are succeeding. Every empty hotel room is a victory for Hamas.
 By the way, Joan Rivers is way too coarse for my liking but when the woman is right she is right. She gave this interviewer a run for her money!!!

And so to Shabbat. Shabbat is Shabbat for the soldiers who are in Gaza and those waiting for their orders. Another Shabbat without their families but Israelis do their best to ensure that the Hamin or Cholent arrives anyway. From huge chain stores and supermarkets to individuals who have enough difficulty putting food on the family table, everyone does their bit for our boys and girls. One friend is in touch with the farmers of Zikin on the Gaza border and right now our order for 100 shekels worth of mixed vegetables is on its way to us. Meirav Malha - 052 8797508 and she will make the contact. Brava Meirav all the towns and villages on the border need our help.
Sorry I once again diverged from the path of this Shabbat Shalom. I wanted to leave you with something sweet, difficult when the world is doing its three wise monkey act. 

Something beautiful happened this week. I can't give you full details but Zvi's son Leor found that his soldiers were struggling with cumbersome old tools to care for their tanks. He jsut mentioned the name Leatherman Tools and the need for them to me and I knew exactly who to turn to - Martin and Helene and David Greenberg, Rabbi of Shaarey Tefillah Temple in Bedford NY. Hardly had my fingers stopped typing when their  positive response came in return. Thanks to their wonderful generosity a very happy group of tank officers sent a thank-you photo, bearing their new tools and grinning from ear to ear with big thank you signs hurriedly written in English. Beautiful boys, beautiful hearts - thank you so much to those of you who know who you are. You are true friends of Israel.

I wasn't sure whether to put the latest LATMA song on todays letter - there are aspects I disagree with. I do not for one second believe that those who signed the Oslo agreements on behalf of Israel thought for one second of anything but Israel and peace - so here it is

Smadar Hot Elishai is a good woman among many. She lives in Kibbutz Be'eri on the border with Gaza and opened her home to soldiers as they leave Gaza. She makes them coffee, washes their dirty clothes and very important they all phone home and then shower. One young soldier, a reservist, showered and as he came out Smadar smelled the scent of Johnsons baby shampoo. When she asked him why he chose that of all the shampoos she left for the soldiers he broke down and said he missed his baby so much and at least he needed the scent of baby shampoo.

And so to Shabbat again. This Shabbat we have guests, honoured guests - Roselyne and Michael Freedman from Miami. Since you already know that I will be cooking my heart out today with all the special Israeli salads and  - well, I cannot divulge the full menu or they won't be surprised!  I can tell you that the Aubergine salad, Roasted aubergine with tehina, Moroccan mushroom salad, green tehina, houmous and courgette salads are ready, the  fried fish balls in the mixing bowl, "orange" soup ready and the main course................. that will be a surprise to me too!!!!!!

Singing is so important for Jews, We sing our pain, our joy and our confusion. Fiddler on the Roof showed it perfectly. Right now our singing is closer to prayer - prayer for peace, prayer for rahmanut - rachmunes - sympathy/empathy from a cruel and unsympathetic world. In truth I don't care what they think but it hurts anyway. So.......... first is my favourite, you already know it but I never tire of it. Shalom Aleichem - Shalom to you

The 23rd psalm, so familiar to all of us in any language, was written right here in Jerusalem. The words, whatever the language, are a prayer for peace to a loving G-d.
The Lord is my shepherd;​ I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures:​  He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul: He leads me in the paths of righteous​ness for his name's sake. 
Thoug​h I walk through the valley of the shadow of Death, I will fear no evil: for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff they comfort me. 

Shabbat Shalom dear friends. Never forget that Egypt, Greece, Rome, Turkey all tried (among others) to kill us off and we are still here. This too will pass. May our prayers be answered Lu Yehi - Let it be

With love from Jerusalem.


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

Monday, 21 July 2014

140721 Gaza Up-date

21st July 2014

Dear Friends

13, 13 should be a beautiful number in Judaism but yesterday it became unlucky 13 as 13 beautiful young lives were snuffed out in Gaza. The IDF went in to prevent further and further attacks - this is war - and thirteen soldiers died. In Israel everyone knows everyone and it hurts, it is not a matter of names it is people, fathers, sons, brothers, grandchildren - we mourn together and sadly this is not the end. They all died defending our freedom.  The names of the dead are never released until all family members have been notified so we have the names of only 5.  and now

Can you imagine an army that provides medical attention, staple foods and  medical supplies to its sworn enemies? Can you imagine an army that drops flyers and sends sms (text) messages to the telephones of civilians in an enemy country begging them to leave an area that will be bombed because it houses terrorist bases? That is the much maligned IDF. 

There are civilian tragedies in Gaza, horrific civilian tragedies but they are caused by Hamas preventing civilians from leaving the buildings under which they hide their arsenals; Hamas ensures that arsenals are hidden beneath hospitals, schools and UNWRA sites and ensures that the foreign press, after a tough day in the field, is taken to one of the fine hotels or restaurants in Gaza City.  This article by Tom Gross sums up the media situation perfectly, although primarily about the BBC

The prime target of the IDF is the tunnels. Not the arms tunnels from Egypt, the Egyptians took care of those, but the tunnels through which they plan to bring terrorists to kill Israelis. Please understand that these  are highly sophisticated tunnels and the people of towns and villages on the border could hear the rumbling of what they thought were earthquakes, but it was much more sinister than an earthquake, it was the heavy equipment digging tunnels underneath them to bring terrorists into Israel to kill them, the residents of agricultural Kibbutzim. This morning it happened, Hamas terrorists came through an, as yet undiscovered, tunnel and broke into two villages and began shooting, soldiers acted immediately and all the terrorists were killed.

Coming back to aid, the aid Israel passes through to the people of Gaza. Do you remember how the UN, UK, USA, EU all forced Israel to resume the  provision of building materials to Gaza? "For humanitarian reasons"? Well yesterday we discovered many sacks of Nesher concrete in the tunnels - they didn't build homes, they concentrated on destruction - again - using the concrete/cement we gave them to reinforce the enormous tunnels. I guess this is the Middle East but why oh why do those who don't begin to understand tell us what to do. 
Israelis, whether in the north, south, east or west in this tiny country, recognise that our government protects us. All governments, this one and previous ones. 

Charles Krauthammer said it better than anyone in his article Moral Clarity in Gaza. “Here’s the difference between us,” explains the Israeli prime minister. “We’re using missile defense to protect our civilians, and they’re using their civilians to protect their missiles.”

These videos help you to understand the difficulty of ensuring the least civilian casualties - we do not accept the American use of Collateral Damage - we call them human lives.
Will Grandma make it to the safe room

The television just went blank - there is a technical problem in our area - and I feel as if someone cut my arms and legs off after anaesthetising my brain. We are hooked day and night to the news - wondering what surprises Hamas still has up their sleeves. I spoke to dear friends in Perth, Australia, and they feel the same, equally tied to the television. They tune in to i24 or in addition to those links I gave you last week there is Josh Hastens

So Israel is fighting her War of Independence - in fact a 67 year old War of Independence. It has either been overt or tacit for all that time. Our PR failed because of our very success. We would never be considered weak again, never be led as sheep to the slaughter and so we lost our underdog advantage with the left and the media.
Jon Snow is a clever and thorough interviewer, whose sharp tongue is his trademark, and with whom I have had more than one "discussion" on Israel. Jon believes it acceptable to demean the Israeli Prime Ministers spokesperson Mark Regev in this interview   It is truly a case of double standards - one for Israel and one for all others. My only complaint of Marks restraint at the barrage is that he did not ask Jon Snow about the British and American killing of children and old people when the troops fought in Afghanistan and Iraq. Again - 
those troops call it "collateral damage" we call it a tragedy. Perhaps Jon Snow should watch Egyptian television to understand what questions he should be asking. Even better - he should listen to his own Prime Minister who spoke in the House today saying that  Hamas is responsible for this war - no country would hold back after the barrage of rockets on it citizens.

If you want to do something, give something there are several ways to do so. One is through the Friends of the IDF where Haim Saban is matching your donation  - sorry about the long link - the other, much smaller but equally important is Josh Hastens link

Tomorrow Zvi and I leave for Romania for a week. We leave with a heavy heart but many others depend upon our travelling - we are representing Israel with Zvi's choir. I hope I will be able to let you know what the Romanians think of us but....... I am afraid I already know.

Please understand, this is going to sound very strange but Israelis are still safer than people living in almost any other country in the world. Tourists don't cancel trips to Turkey, Venezuela, Colombia .... the USA or Europe because of troubles - so don't cancel your trip - we need to know you still love us.

Yesterday the Bloomfield Science Museum with Rachel and her children. It was full of children having a wonderful time - life goes on, with caution but life goes on. Children of all ages were blissfully unaware of the situation in Israel and that is excellent. Adults checked out where the safe room was and just got on with it. 

In a different world and different mood Vera Lynn sang to the troops of World War 2 at a time when the citizens understood that when bombs fall on Britain we fight back

I wish you could understand the words of the incredible songs that these children of Israels "Music School" sing - each is a prayer, each sings of love, all dream of peace

With love from Jerusalem, still so beautiful, so normal, so quiet, as we begin a new week of sad news. Do I want to be anywhere else? No way - this is my home and I am not going anywhere.


By the way - the ambulances and police have changed their sirens to one that sounds much less like an air-raid siren and more like the Paris Gendarmerie so that it won't scare us!!!

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

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Shalom from Jerusalem - Gaza Up-date

20th July, 2014

Mid-week update. Operation in Gaza

As you probably guessed I am not a fan of Hillary Clinton, although I was a fan of her husbands; however............. in this interview with the self-hating Jew Jon Stewart she really put him in his place by quoting facts on the situation in Gaza

Bill Maher - everything you didn't understand explained in this discussion. "The bigotry of high expectations"

Five soldiers of the IDF died defending our freedom, our right to exist
Amotz GreenbergAdar Basano, Bar Rahav, Banya Rubel,​ Eitan Barak​, may their dear souls rest in peace

These wonderful young men died close to home, to Israel, on the edge of Gaza in our determined destruction of the first 15 tunnels, built specifically to bring arms and terror into Israel close to Kibbutzim 

An Israeli Bedouin was killed and his family injured when a rocket fell near a village but on open ground. Our hearts go out to his family and we wish a speedy recovery to all especially his 3 month old baby. There were many complaints that his village was not protected but it was not registered, illegall​​y built, never paid taxes or land tax and so not eligible for shelters. We mourn him as we mourn all Israelis.

In their determination to kill, to cause havoc, to murder Israelis they have many ruses - one was a man who approached soldiers to request help, when they got close in order to help him he pulled a grenade. Thank G-d they overwhelmed him. In another case they sent a donkey, yes a donkey, loaded with explosives. The poor donkey's load was discovered.
Innocent civilians died in Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Sudan and so many other places and no-one cared. Israel responds to unbearable constant terror and suddenly the world cares about human rights- human wrongs.

We have our home grown ignoramuses, who turned up in Sderot to protest the war. The people of Sderot were infuriated and suggested vociferously that they go and protest in Gaza. Those craven quislings didn't even get off the bus - they ran back home!

If you feel you are far away from trouble in the USA - read this survey of the worst anti-semitic campuses in the USA

Feeling depressed at the lack of understanding in this world? Just watch this Standwithus video.

If you are searching for responses to arguments try these
Israel, unlike the Allies in Afghanistan, Iraq indeed all operations, does not describe civilians as "Collateral Damage" when killed. We describe them as innocents killed by accident.
1. Israel does not have the luxury or sending troops overseas - our enemies are right on our borders.
2. Israeli boys and girls leave their jobs, their families and at a moments notice go to wherever they are needed. They do not go to fight a distant war, they are often a few kilometres from home protecting their family and all their friends families. It is personal.
3. If one were to try and put the accusations into perspective one could say that more Afghanis and Iraqis died than Americans or Brits. 
4. More Germans died than Brits in WW2; when bombs were dropped on London, Coventry, Cardiff, Britain and the Allies wiped Dresden off the map by dropping bombs and incendiary devices on the heart of that city, killing anything from 50,000 to 70,000 civilians. In an attempt to kill the leaders of the Nazis in Copenhagen, the Allies missed their target and bombed a childrens hospital.

This is war, it is not pretty, it is not kind, it is not clean, but at least Israel does her very best to target only terror cells and Hamas HQ's. It is hard when they hide behind children and families.
In the world's condemnation of Israel they did not even bother to announce that in Mosul, Iraq, ISIS announced that all Christians must become Moslems or die. Consider that Hamas sides with ISIS and come to your own conclusions.

I leave you with two songs. One a prayer for the wellbeing of the soldiers of the IDF
The second, sung by Shai Abrahamson, Cantor of the IDF in a prayer for the peace of Israel.

With love from Jerusalem, 

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

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Shabbat Shalom from Sheila - Gaza, rockets and London

17th July 2014

Gosh, I hadn't realised how hard it is to be so far away during times of war. I know what is happening, I know what the truth is for Israelis, I am horrified at the half-truths told but don't know what to do about it!

The current situation is very much one of "The whole thing started when he slapped me back". Everyone is suffering, Israelis suffer air raid sirens, but because our government has provided bomb shelters and our building codes demand at least one room of every home is made of reinforced concrete; because we inform our population of security codes; because we spent our time developing defensive weapons like Iron Dome which not only saves Israelis but does not harm others, we are confident. In the media we look as if we are overly strong, but we just defend ourselves.

On the other hand, sad to say, Hamas actually wants people to die in order to raise the sympathy level of the media. Don't just believe me, watch this video of an Egyptian television reporter on the situation of Hamas. Ismail Haniya enjoying the good life while the civilians of Gaza suffer horribly.

On the other hand, we do everything in our power to prevent the loss of innocent life. We abort operations if there is doubt. However, this is war, yes this is war. Do you honestly think the British or American troops didn't harm the hair of the head of any Iraqi or Afghani children? "Collateral Damage" was the cold and cruel term for the deaths of innocents in THEIR war. A botched up war it was too. Double standards are racist, that's the only word I can find.

Not all is bad! My wonderful step-son Leor, has been on Miluim (reserve duty) for over ten days now. He was called up and despite being the father of 3 little girls and running a huge department of a large company, he did not hesitate- he knows his duty. Anyway, Leor realised that so many of his IDF company had rushed from home that they were missing many of the simple necessities of life. He spoke ot one of his soldiers whose cousin runs a new radio station, English speaking, in Jerusalem. He called Josh Hasten and through a single appeal on the radio Josh managed to raise enough funds to buy all the necessities. Josh is a very busy man but had time, or took time to help the beautiful boys and girls on the border. and Josh's radio station is called Voice of Israel
It was at the border that a man decided to bring treats for the soldiers. He was hit by the schrapnel from a Hamas rocket and died. So sad.

At the same border just one day later, the Erez Crossing where all the aid passes from Israel to the Gazan people, a huge explosives laden truck on teh Gazan side of the crossing was blown up, luckily damaging just 9 cars not human beings, but it stopped the medical supplies and food passing into Gaza -Israel was probably blamed for stopping supplies!

Our lovely friend Teresa, visiting with her family from near Calgary, Alberta, responded to my question after her welfare said this 
We completed our 2 week trip to Israel yesterday and have now arrived home. I asked my kids of they wished they had come at a more peaceful time and they said no. They said it has enriched the trip to manage the sirens because they now know how Israelis must feel when going to the shelter. We have learned many good things. We were sad to leave Israel. No one in our group would hear of leaving early. Our prayers are with Israel at this time.
In Paris a synagogue, apparently many, was attacked   and 400 French Jews came on Aliya this week. It is infinitely safer to be in Israel under fire than Paris under hate. There were attacks in NYC, Boston and Montreal too.

Since you already know I  am not at home but rather on a wonderful sojourn in the UK. Days of good emotions whereby, for the first time in very many years I and my three siblings were in the same country, city, road, room, together - the original four. It was a wonderful experience filled with joy and love even if, in the final count, my sisters still think of me as the baby sister. I grew up!!!! Yesterday was even more emotional as I watched my New York grandson play with my London grandchildren and huggled my baby NYC grand-daughter for the first time and got a smile!!!

The grandchildren are arriving soon and I never ever let my work interfere with grandchildren!!! However before I go I wanted you to see two very important videos. It is a long time since I put Pat Condell on my newsletter (apart form last week!!!!!) but here are two very important ones.
One is about the Guardian newspaper - one could replace it is NY or LA Times - Hates Israel with Scandinavian Intensity the Guardian - Pat Condell

The other is possibly more contentious - but true.
Pat Condell claims we patronise Moslems by holding them to a lower standard . Journalistic cowardice is rampant
Not Liberal - liars and hypocrites who in fact are not tolerant - indeed their intolerance toward anyone who disagrees is often violent.
We are the first generation that has not needed to defend its freedom and it shows - we do not defend our way of life.

And so I must end before heading off to Willows Farm. To everyone that I did not contact, please please understand. I had 6 day, two with my London children, two with my siblings and now two with my NYC children. I love you and think of you but this was a flying visit with a specific purpose.

I will be in Jerusalem for Shabbat, stopping in Givat Ze'ev on the way home to see my Jerusalem grandchildren. I hope we will have guests for Shabbat Dinner - it is all ready in the freezer, but if Rachel prepares any salads or Challah for me it will be received with gratitude!!!

I want to leave you with a strange song, a beautiful song, one that sums up all our problems in a musical nutshell - the Beatles and All you need is love

With love from London - looking toward Jerusalem


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

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem. Operation Protective Edge



10th July 2014

Shalom dear friends.

Two nights ago was chaotic, distressing and very, very annoying. We sat having a delicious Jerusalem meal at Zion ha Gadol with Rebecca and Harold Finger and Irit and Itzik Lev. The meal was up to the usual standards as the cornucopia of Jerusalem "salads" spread before us, each one more delicious than the next. Beetroot salad, carrot salad, garlic and lemon, fiery Yemenite Schug, chopped Israeli salad, humous with chickpeas and olive oil on top, tehina with parsley, tomato and coriander, rice salad, too many to mention and to Rebeccas delight, Iraqi style pitta piping hot from the taboon - and that was just the first course!!!!! That was followed by kebabs, chicken liver skewers, spring chicken skewers and hot fries. As we were drinking our tea with "nana"or mint and eating baklava it happened. Uzi, who runs the place, ran out to say the "Tseva Adom" air-raid sirens were already sounding in Abu Ghosh where he lives. Then it sounded in Jerusalem too. We casually strolled into the restaurant, choosing an appropriate spot indoors, and I must commend both Harold and Rebecca for their amazing sang froid in an unfamiliar situation, just hours after landing at Ben Gurion Ariport. Of course, I remembered to take my mint tea with me.

Bravo BBC........ yes I said Bravo BBC, not only revealing that Hamas uses old and inaccurate photographs to claim Israeli hits. The BBC's senior reporter Lyse Doucet deserves a special mention for her honest reporting of our situation.

Amazing, but the Economist published a very telling article entitled "The tragedy of the Arabs" - of how they fell from great heights and must pull themselves out of the mire of terror and internecine fighting. 

The Wall Street Journal exposed the fact that Iran has a very strong hand in Hamas and Gaza. Iran's Hand in Gaza A little-noticed U.N. report discloses the Tehran regime's role in fueling Middle East terror.

Our enemy is not the people of Gaza who suffer from the horrendous oppression at the hands of Hamas but rather Hamas itself - yet another  case of supposed democratic elections bringing untold suffering on the heads of the people.  Here we see a small truth of Hamas

On Tuesday the spotters of the IDF saw four or five unknown persons coming out of the sea in SCUBA suits - they were terrorists from Gaza. This article and video show the entire operation.,7340,L-4539871,00.html 

The name of this operation is translated as Protective Edge -  but in Hebrew it has much deeper meaning. The J​erusalem ​Post said The Hebrew, צוק איתן, touches more buttons than the official English translation, "Protective edge." Alternative translations that might touch different buttons, are "Strong rock" "Impregnable rock," or "Impregnable fortress."

Hamas gains strength from the belief that they are a grass-roots and home-spun without real weapons. WRONG!!!!! They are sophisticated, their weaponry effective and dangerous. they know exactly what they are aiming for although so far have not succeeded. Their success has been in the war of attrition, terrifying civilians, but they have not reached their targets.............. so far. 

The situation for Israelis would be infinitely more serious but for Iron Dome. Conceived by Brigadier General Daniel Gold,  Defence Minister Amir Peretz who fought to gain funding and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert who pushed it through. Thank you all 3 for defending lives. ​Once the success of Iron Dome was proven both the United States and Singapore decided to put money into the project and it became a three nation project which will  be a major financial success, but I  am just thrilled it works!!  ​

Apparently Israel is worth just one, maybe two days of sympathy and a mere few hours of empathy. wh​e​n the three teenage boys, Naftali, Eyal and Gil-Ad were kidnapped and killed, we were worth a few words of sympathy although few media outlets refrained from calling these boys "settlers" to ensure the blame boomeranged. Hamas handed out candy in celebration of that horror. Incredibly -Despite the constant barrage of rockets being fired at major cities in Israel, hundreds of Israelis are reaching out to console the family of murdered Arab teen Mohammad Abu Khdeir. Israelis visit the mourners' tent of the Abu Khdeir family in Shuafat, Jerusalem. Why? Because this is Israel and we will never celebrate the cruel killing of a child. The perpetrators are arrested, all 6 from one family and mostly aged 16 and 15, and the full extent of the law will be brought down upon their heads.

The media in general is blaming Israel for the current situation despite thousands of missiles launched on Israeli town and kibbutzim for years - it is a case of -"The war started when Israel returned fire".  

I want film-makers, internet whizz's or advertising people out there to make a video. I already wrote the screenplay in principle-  Children in identifiable major cities around the world - from San Franciso, Toronto, London, Cardiff, Sydney, Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam - Malmo - running for cover running - just running in fear trying to get to  shelters. Sirens, 15 seconds of running to the sound of your own heartbeat;  a visual of a 7 year old terrified that his parents wll not reach safety, his home destroyed including his teddy bear. The entire video is 15 seconds - -----Then maybe the people of the world would understand and stop listening to the disinformation of the media.

A compilation of video and and information from Tom Gross - essential viewing

By the way - Israel is still sending truckloads of aid​, medical, subsistence food and fuel,​ through​ the​​ Erez Crossing​ to Gaza every day​. Egypt is not willing to open her borders excepting a few injured.​ - Hamas is our enemy not the poor people they rule with a violent hand.​ Ironically they probably use the fuel we provide for the rockets!!​
Today Mahmoud Abbas tried to broker an unconditional cease-fire - let's see what happens but I know that if we say yes Hamas will say no - it's just for media purposes. ​

This weeks serious news has taken most of this newsletter but I cannot let it go without some good news too. First of all my daughter Rachel's children came to stay overnight. It really was fun even though I learned that there is a good reason we don't have children at the advanced age of 68!!!! They really were angels, Saba Zvi worked hard to build them the tent and tube set on the veranda (which they barely played with of course) then we talked, watched a little children's TV, played computer games and then bed time. Bed-time was so much fun, the two girls, Talia and Ayala, in the double bed and Yosef on a comfy mattress on the floor. They really wanted to sleep together. Mr Bump, Brahms Lullaby and some more talking and Yosef and Ayala were quickly in dreamland, however Talia (aged 8) found it hard to sleep so we sat on the hammock on the veranda and gently swinging back and fore we talked about what we saw. 

She went to get the binoculars and we found the moon in the clear sky, Gilo, Beit Tsafafa, Talpiot, Baka, Ramat Rachel, German Colony and on each one coming with a little history lesson. So it continued until 11:15 when suddenly she said "OK Safta Sheila, I can go to sleep now, you don't need to come to sit with me. You go to bed, I tired you" Strangely enough it wasn't true. Sitting out in the cool, gentle breeze of a Jerusalem evening with a child that I love dearly could not be considered tiring - it was a privilege. Best of all the girls chose to save up all their earnings and birthday money and bought themselves a trampoline!!!! Not bad for 5 and 8 years old! It helped them to forget (momentarily) the fact that a rocket landed near home two days ago.

​I received a video from Adrian and Lester Christie - childhood friends - DO YOU PASS THE ISRAEL TEST? From the Prager University. Fascinating, just 4 minutes long​

Since Israel's sons daughters and grandchildren have been called up for "miluim" or reserve duty and many are serving near the Gaza border, the only obvious song that I wanted to give you is Mark Knoflers tribute to the IDF - Brothers in Arms

I wish you Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem. Jerusalem that just a few minutes ago heard the wailing of the air-raid siren. It was time for me to meet my neighbours on the stairwell again. We heard 4 booms in the distance. I know where they tried to land - can't tell you - but if not for Iron Dome they would have landed in closely dense civilian areas - guaranteed civilian. 

Tomorrow I leave for a short week in London and South Wales, but as much as I want to see all my family there, it is hard to go. 

I want to leave you with a prayer "Our Father, Our King who is in heaven" Avinu Malkeinu sh'be Shamayim

With much love to you all
​For anyone who wants information of what is happening here
The English speaking site of Israel's Home Front Command ("Pikud Ha’oref") can be accessed by clicking Their information center can be reached at 104 and is open 24 hrs. 
English news sites originating from Israel include among others:
I24 News – 24 hr Internet news site in English
IBA English News:
The Jerusalem Post:
Times of Israel: 
Yisrael Hayom:
Israel National News:​

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

Friday, 4 July 2014

Shabbat Shalom Letter - Teenagers die, Sderot bombed, Canon Andrew in Iraq

Friday, 4th July 2014

Shabbat shalom dear friends and to all America and Americans I wish you a truly amazing Independence Day. 

I wish the USA the strength to be a light unto nations, a leader among followers and an example of democracy, a caring democracy which looks outside itself to make this world a safer, better place.

America gave us so much more than hamburgers and hot dogs but must recognise that while her own economy is important her leadership in our current world war is even more important and her example in dealing with it is the catalyst for good.

I pray that Hurricane Arthur will pass by quickly and without harm to human life.

Here in Israel life became sadder, more complex, the chasm between civilizations wider. The horrific news that our three boys, three teenagers on their way home from school, were killed almost instantly after their kidnapping, shook the entire country. One visitor to Israel said "I don't know what all the fuss is about, children die every day"- well Daniel Gordis explains better than I in his blog Because They Were Jews 

Days later we heard the news that a young Arab boy from the upmarket Jerusalem Arab neighbourhood of Shoefat was kidnapped, killed and his partially burned body found in the Jerusalem forest. The mothers of Gil-Ad, Eyal and Naftali, even as they sat Shiva for their sons, offered compassion to Muhammads mother. Naftali Fraenkel's Mother said "There is no difference between blood and blood" The President of Israel, the Prime Minister, the Speaker of the Knesset begged for "Ipuk"for restraint. 

Immediately the family of Muhammad Hussein Abu Khdeir blamed Jews;immediately riots began throughout the West Bank of Yehuda and Shomron; immediately the world, which seemed indifferent to the deaths of 3 Jewish teenagers, expressed anger and infinite sympathy with the Arab parents. The autopsy is complete, the results still uncertain but for me there is one element that makes it unlikely that Jews perpetrated this diabolical crime - Muhammads body was partially burned. My instinct tells me that it was not a Jew but I do not know - if it was then I want their home demolished because anyone who could do that to a child, whatever his origins, is a terrorist. A very telling statement in Daniel K Eisenbuds report in the Jerusalem Post suggests that this is not the first time that a member of the Abu Kheidar family was subject of attempted kidnap due to inter-tribal dispute. 

When I begged for Ipuk - restraint- on Facebook Doron Maresky responded thus " I think it's even more that just "ipuk" or "restraint". Restraint implies holding back or suppressing an urge to do something in return or retaliation and for many ipuk is what is needed. Watching the bereaved parents yesterday, I saw in them something far purer and far nobler. There was no urge for retaliation to restrain or suppress. Even in their grief they exuded a majestic inner strength that holds us on a spiritual level far higher than those who would see our downfall. Having said that, this does not retract in any way from our right and duty to punish and deter those who transgress against us and to do what is necessary to keep us safe in our own land.

In the meantime, almost ignored by the media, 45 missiles were launched from Gaza on the residents of Sderot and the South in a 24 hour period, destroying homes, destroying peace, destroying the lives of so many children who grow up with PTSD. If you want to understand the terror, the horror, the fear and the trauma, please just watch this video
Hamas, who deny any connection to the kidnappings and murder, even of the missiles, are deeply into destroying any attempt to reach an agreement. Ehud Yaari is one of the greatest experts on Middle Eastern affairs, in this video interview he reveals many truths "There were 44 Hamas attempts to kidnap Israelis just this year and the perpetrators were known Hamas operatives" - "When the boys were kidnapped the police recording over the phone, in perfect Hebrew - "Head down, head down" then shots - then you hear them singing "We have got three, we have got three".

The boldness of Hamas is encouraged by their knowledge that whatever they do will be enabled whereas whatever we do to defend ourselves will be disparaged.

To put our lives into perspective and to understand that the media does not report tragedies they simply support whatever political ends are flavour of the week, please watch the first two movies about Canon Andrew White in Baghdad.Heart wrenching and eye-opening we begin to understand what is not told. 

I debated whether or not to send you the next article, then realised that although it may anger some I simply had to. It is critical of the Administration's Middle East policy and more. I would love to have a response from any of my wonderful Chicago friends.

I said so many times that Israel is a schizophrenic country, that even in the midst of horrific turmoil we still enjoy life, and this week was no different.

After Shabbat our lovely young friend Steven Gandel arrived from London, where he has been working. I love Steven, indeed he is the third generation of his family that Zvi and I adore!!!! Zvi brought Steven from the airport and collected me so that we could go out for a bite to eat (Steven does enjoy his food) and see some Jerusalem nightlife. Of course we went to "The First Station" and while we ate we watched the world go by. Dancing in the central square, children racing around on hired vehicles, families out promenading, restaurants, all full to the very brim and of course the beach! Yes the beach! We discovered the beach with Debbie and Sammy Bettsak but this time actually walked on the sand - no water but a palm-fronded bar, beach chairs, music and fun. Amazing eh? We were very lucky to spend lots of time with Debbie and Sam but only a few grabbed moments with Maida and Allen Gerskup. All of the above, Steven, Debbie, Sam, Maida and Allen were here for "Simchas", be they Bar or Bnei Mitzvot,  Weddings or parties. They enjoyed every moment of great restaurants and clubs; hotels and sunshine. Life goes on here, we survive and thrive because we are not hysterical. As a people we cope, maybe because we know that we survived the worst that humanity could throw at us and we are stronger now than ever; maybe it is because we survive through our belief and traditions.

Last week I made a mistake in the Torah Portion but hope that my cross checking this week has given us the right information. The Parasha (Torah Portion) this week is Balak -Numbers 22:2-25:9.  The biblical accounting of Balaam's behavior, without rabbinic interpretation, is rather straightforward. Balak, king of the Moabites, has asked Balaam, a non-Israelite sorcerer, to put a curse on Israel. Balak, aware that the Children of Israel were blessed by God, hopes that a curse will allow the Moabites to be victorious in their battle against the Israelites. After several entreaties from Balak, along with permission from God and a stop along the way with God's angel, Balaam ends his journey at a mountaintop, where he sees from a distance the Children of Israel encamped. From this vantage point, Balaam proceeds to bless the Israelites four times. It is some of the most beautiful poetry of biblical literature.

So many want to curse us, so many want to kill us, so many defile our name, and they do not hear that those who bless us thrive. We are a giving society - even as the bodies of the 3 boys were discovered  5 Palestinian children were given free treatment by the Save a Child's Heart Foundation here in Israel; a Syrian refugee baby was born; hundreds of Palestinians were being treated in Israeli hospitals, schooled in Israeli schools and educated in Israeli universities.

Our determination to find a way to peace is epitomised in this wonderful song Od Yavo Shalom Aleinu ​ The words - Shalom, Shalom - Peace will come to us - Peace will come to us and to everyone - Salaam to us and to the whole world​ - Salaam

So the table is set, Zvi ready to go to his Parliament, the food unprepared. I think we will have fried fish balls - a very British recipe. One prepares the mix for gefilte fish and then simply breadcrumb them and fry them - it is a great way of getting children to eat fish!!! Recently I varied the recipe since the excellent fresh fish shop in Givat Zeev makes a mix of minced salmon and white fish which makes a delicious fish ball- just fish, onion, eggs, matzo meal, salt and pepper (with a tiny spoonful of sugar to help the fish go down!!!)! The children love ptitim - a baked rice-shaped pasta with onion, and I have some wonderful salads with aubergine and tehina, courgette, mushroom and of course a traditional chopped Israeli salad. The Israeli chopped salad is different, little ridge cucumbers, peeled and finely chopped, juicy tomatoes, deseeded and chopped, finely chopped purple onion, parsley or coriander and loads of freshly squeezed lemon juice. Crunchy, healthy, tasty and very, very Israeli!!!!

 I still have to choose your Shabbat song and thought that talking about food the muse would hit me.............. but I really want to choose something new,  something to honour the great United States and Israel both. this video amazed me

The one invocation that links all Jews is Shema Yisrael - Hear oh Israel. We say this prayer upon waking and before retiring, it is the first prayer that a child learns, it is a prayer that binds us. A vunderkind, child, Yitzi Rosinger, singing in Yiddisch, grabs ones heart and his voice rises to the heavens expressing our prayer for peace and understanding, for a kinder world.

Shabbat Shalom dear friends. Be kind to one another

With love from Jerusalem, beloved pearl in our crown.

By the way - to end on a high note, Harry Freedman sent me this video all the way from Sydney, Australia and I agree with him that this is the best Jerusalem music video for ages


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