Friday, 30 October 2015

151030 Rabin 20, Hakol Yachassi, Doreen, Kerry, Ileana Ros Lehtinen

30th October 2015

Shabbat shalom to you all, near and far, Jew, Christian and Moslem. May you live in peace and think of peace but most of all pray for peace, work for peace and remember that nothing comes if we just sit back and wait for it.

For about 20 years now I have been promoting the Power of One, the ability of each and every one of us to make a difference in our world.  Adopt a journalist is possibly the most important aspect because, like it or not, they influence a gullible world that hangs on their every word. If they don't get the information then neither does the man next door! You don't have to be cheeky like me and call the offices of CNN and BBC – although you will be surprised to find how ready they are to talk – you can start with your local press. Until you adopt a journalist, bring him/her home or to visit your synagogue or church they may well be fed the wrong information because if you don't inform them someone else will. Journalists are human beings like you and me, well actually I am one but you know what I mean. Journalists put out information that they receive, so ensure they receive a rounded, clear picture, but that means you need to be informed too. Demand honest reporting from their editors who often hide half the truth thereby lying. It is worth every moment, to you, your community and to Israel.

As Jews we often think of the Temple Mount as only ours and that the Moslems are interlopers. I have not been to the Temple Mount in 20 years when I went with  Ian and Linda Gandel and their children, and have never felt the need for sole ownership of the Holiest site in the Jewish religion, possibly because we are not supposed to worship "sites or edifices" only the Torah, however I do not believe I should be banned from visiting the Temple Mount either. It is not only the site of the Holy Temple but also of the Foundation Stone, where Abraham took Isaac and proved himself before God;  it is the wellspring of Christianity and so much more – on the Temple Mount .

The level of antipathy and blatant abuse of human rights is shown in this video. The bully boys of the WAQF waited for this Danish Christian and banned her from walking on the Temple Mount claiming it is all, but all, a mosque. Thanks to Steve Linde, Editor in Chief of the Jerusalem Post,​ for posting this

From the sublime to the ridiculous, John Kerry finally moved from his building mantra and told the Palestinians that they must end the incitement. However he also stated that the terror is a manifestation of the fact that there is no two state solution. If that were true why was there terror in 1929, why throughout the years before 1948, 1967.  Mr Kerry, if you are not part of the solution you are part of problem.

Congresswoman Ileana Ros Lehtinen stood up in Congress and spoke loud and clear in Congress about US funding of UNWRA which clearly supports Hamas, a registered terror group. Write and thank her please – and send her my love. I could not find the video and would appreciate anyone who can help me.

Mahmoud Abbas went to the United Nations Human Rights Council and complained about Israelis killing Palestinians – which is like the man who killed his parents then begged for leniency because he was an orphan. It would certainly be cheaper for Abbas if he stopped the knifing rampage, the number of young Palestinians committing Shahidi is very costly. Each of their families gets a house, $10,000 and a stipend for life. Why should he care though, every penny is paid from your taxes!!!!

I cannot believe it is 20 years. 20 years since our friend, relative and Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin was assassinated by a Jew. 20 years since this proud, shy, brilliant soldier, who disliked politics yet succeeded in drawing the love of Presidents, Prime Ministers and Kings the world over – that love for him making the difference in their policies toward Israel. Igal Amir killed a dream along with a Prime Minister. He killed the dream that we were better than others, more moral, less violent. President Clinton is already here in Israel, he will be at the memorial in Rabin Square in Tel Aviv, to say farewell to his Chaver.

If not for Yitzchak Rabin's partnership with Ehud Olmert, as Mayor of Jerusalem, we would not have built fine neighborhoods in Jerusalem, he pushed for Har Homa in order to protect the contiguity of Jerusalem, highways would have remained on the drawing board and an attempt at a peace process, pushed by all the leaders of the world came closer than any other. We all believed it could happen and at that time the strong American leadership was on our side, we wanted it to work knowing full well they would never sign. Yitzchak Rabin remained a soldier to the end and Israel lost her naivety.

The dream of Yitzchak Rabin has been stolen by the left, for he was not a left-winger. Yitzchak cared deeply for his Israel, for his people, for the security of both, yet he was berated by the right and it was the hatred expressed by the extreme right that eventually convinced Igal Amir that he should kill his Prime Minister. Igal Amir who has never expressed a word of regret and smiles throughout.

The ultimate horror is that Igal Amirs younger brother Hagai, was charged this week for incitement to hatred against President Reuven Rivlin! On his Facebook page he spews hatred and filth against a man who represents Israel with honour and generosity of spirit, encouraging yet another assassination. I don't have words in my lexicon to express my disgust. Who seriously believes in free speech? Freedom of speech is a right that must be earned by goodwill.

The Aussies got it right. A Sydney teen yelled racist, anti-Semitic insults and was sentenced to Shabbat Dinner! He will learn of the Holocaust and study Judaism. What a brilliant idea.

My sister Doreen came and went back home after a simply wonderful week together. Waking up each morning to find a sister with us in our home was enough but we managed to do and see almost everything.  It was so sad taking her to the airport, and she wished she had booked a longer stay but we packed so much into the week I think we would both have collapsed had we had more time! Thanks to my husband's involvement in both the WZO and the Jewish Agency Board of Governors we not only heard the Prime Minister speak last week but had a guided tour of the Israel Museum (one of the top 10 museums in the world) and skipped the speeches of the opening ceremony at the Southern Wall of the Temple Mount (The Davidson Centre) and ran around the corner to the Kotel, the Western Wall to say our personal prayers. Touching those ancient stones holds a special place in all our hearts. We were both thrilled to see the African Christian ladies in their gorgeous outfits praying fervently, arms raised in hope.

Of course Zvi's family came for Shabbat dinner and our lovely friend Danny Liwerant joined the "balagan" together with Ira and Valeri, Tomer and Shelly who regaled her with stories and stayed after all the others to get to know my sister. We saw our cousins Irene and Debbie in Tel Aviv, dear Irene who was married to my late, beloved cousin Cyril, refuses to recognize her age and looks as young as ever…… not bad since she is over 90 and makes the journey to Israel to be with her Israeli family without complaint. We then went on to a very wet drive to meet my Tel Aviv friends, two of whom couldn't make it because their homes were flooded!!! One lives on the 32nd floor in Tel Aviv but the rain was so heavy that it came in under their doors. Indeed Raanana was without electricity for several days!

Best of all we spent lots of time with Rachel and the children. They adore their Auntie Dordi. They are such loving children, generous with their hugs and chatter – picking them up from school was always an experience. Doreen was amazed at how close Ramallah is to Jerusalem, creeping closer by the day. She was really game, knew that I would never endanger her, and best of all after each trip to Rachels home we saw the Panorama over Samuels Tomb, the panorama I always wax lyrical about. Now she knows I don't exaggerate!!! Zvi loved having my big sister here, her ease of nature and our strong relationship made him happy. I loved the fact he called her "Sis".  Indeed he was upset that she wasn't staying longer!

Two days ago we were meant to meet Harry Bloomfield and the inimitable Dr Cyril Sherer for lunch at the Inbal, however Cyril had other ideas and insisted we go to his apartment for lunch. It was delicious!!! The conversation and welcome were as intriguing and fascinating as always and Cyril is conceivably the most amazing 94 year old (nearly 95) imaginable. He still spends hours on his computer in research and attends patients.

Oh my goodness! The concert  of Hakol Yachassi that Zvi, Eli, Danny, Sammy and many members of the choir organised and it was phenomenal!!! All proceeds went to the Yuri Shtern Holistic Center for Cancer Patients and their families The profits will go the Yuri Shtern Holistic Center

6 choirs sang three songs each, the Shorashim b Machol Jerusalem danced to familiar songs and the evening was a resounding success! My husband gave a great speech, Eli Matityahu was the MC, Deputy Mayor Berkovitch was there and many wonderful songs were sung. Here is a taste of HaKol Yachassi from our recent trip to Karpenisi, Greece

Have you noticed that every Israeli song, and most Jewish prayers are about Peace, Shalom? Either we are not praying hard enough, singing loud enough or simply not doing things right…….. because so far the peace is not here, except in our hearts.

I just got back from the apartment of Harry and Nancy Bloomfield, and I have to admit the view from their veranda is even better than ours! It encompasses the entire Old City, New City and beyond. It filled me with joy and Nancy gave me Shabbat flowers because Zvi will never have time to buy any today! Lehitra'ot guys, have a great flight and come home soon.

Sorry this is such a long letter but I had loads to tell you!
Shabbat Shalom dear friends. Shabbat Shalom to you one and all. May you have a blessed Sabbath

I want to finish with a very special song, but it demands translation so I will place it at the end. Vehi She'amda is a prayer, but also a lesson. Dear friends, don't fear coming to Israel, it is still one of the safest places on earth – as my son Gideon said the problem is not the crime which is everywhere, it is the fact their specific aim is to kill Jews.

Vehi she'amdah
l'avoteinu velanu.

She'lo echad bilvad
amad aleinu lechaloteinu.

Ela sheb'chol dor vador
omdim aleinu lechaloteinu.

Vehakadosh baruch hu
matzileinu miyadam.

And this is that (promise) which sustained
our fathers and us.

That it is not one (enemy) alone
that stood up against us to destroy us.

But that in each generation there are those
standing up against us to destroy us.

But the Holy One Blessed Be He
saves us from their hand.

Friday, 23 October 2015

151023 WZO, PM speech, WIZO, Doreens visit

23rd October 2015

Shabbat Shalom dear friends. I hope you are well and that life is treating you kindly.

What a week of violence. Thousands killed in Syria; hundreds in Nigeria; shootings in American schools; Mexican drug rings; Venezuela, is Venezuela; and in South Africa an armed gang raped woman in front of boyfriend and forced her to watch as they drowned him in a lake

What you didn't know? You thought Israel was the only place with problems? You maybe even thought that we asked for it! Those darned Jews at it making trouble again!
 Well we didn't, we don't and we aren't.
 I have been seeing Israel through the eyes of my amazing big sister who is staying with us now. Of course the first aspect is the difference between reality and the BBC, the second is that in our daily life we don't feel it. Of course one is more aware, that is a given, but if you think I wasn't alert to footsteps behind me in London you are wrong and if you think that I didn't walk in public car parks with a key strategically pointed out of my hand and checking in every direction you are wrong. Of course I stopped doing that in Israel, but for this period I have my "chutz l'aretz" my Diaspora fears of someone coming up behind me. 
Doreen was warned not to go hither and thither and not to specific places, but we have been to "settlements" and moved happily and freely without a tiny amount of fear. She is happy that the weather has been kind a loved our visits to the Herzl Museum, Yad Vashem and of course the Jerusalem Baby Home as we still call it.

The Jerusalem Baby Home is the WIZO (Womens International Zionist Organisation) pearl in Jerusalem. Once an orphanage for orphans of the Holocaust and of new immigrants who could not cope it has blossomed into a truly magnificent place with a normative baby day care centre, a day care centre for autistic children, an artisanal school for young people with either learning or mental problems and a highly organized shelter for battered women.
 Gosh, when I think back to the years our Mummy worked hard to raise funds and then visited the Baby Home some 65 years ago, dancing with the children (yes we have the movie) what miracles have been wrought since. The Director, Kobi, is a huge part of the current success.
When we got home I had a phone call from Nancy Bloomfield who wanted us to go out for supper but, hey, you know me by now, my fridge was full so I invited Nancy, Harry and a young friend call Craig to come over to us. Here there is a joke. "What does a Frenchman bring when he comes for dinner?" Wine. "What does a Brit bring?" Flowers. What does an Israeli bring?" A friend!!!!!  We had a great time, my sister amused by the noise levels of our "discussions" on local politics! We love each other enough to become happily emotional.
 We have "lunched" with girlfriends, both friends from Jerusalem and Cardiff girlfriends who made Aliya but knew Doreen many years ago and on Sunday she will meet my Tel Aviv girlfriends.
 In addition, thanks to my Zvi, we went to the opening plenum of the WZO where we met up with Tova Ben Dov, a wonderful old friend and World President of WIZO, and of course another WIZO leader, Helena Glaser, and heard the Prime Minister speak. As you know I didn't vote for him but he made a terrific and highly pertinent speech. Of course he has been criticized……. Nu? So did you expect anything else? He called his speech "The 10 Big Lies" It was outstanding.  

The Prime Minister was highly criticized for his Grand Mufti comments, probably because they could not deny the rest, but here is an article that shows it was just a matter of semantics!!!
 I am distraught that Canada chose a new and overly young new leader and the highly respected Stephen Harper was defeated horribly. Trudeau has already announced to the American President that Canada is leaving the fight against ISIS.
 Daniel Gordis also put the current situation into perspective
"It's simply that we know, with no doubt, that for our enemies, this is a conflict not about borders but about our very right to be here. We know that, overwhelmingly, the Arab world is still committed to driving us out of this land. So we'll stay, and tough it out — whatever the world thinks of the steps we have to take — for as long as it takes. For as Golda Meir put it decades ago with her characteristic wit, "Israelis have a secret weapon — we have nowhere else to go."
 Yair Lapid (the one I did vote for) took a huge risk and went on the BBC's Hard Talk with Stephen Sakur. A tough assignment indeed. Here is the short clip and the full interview. Lapid really stood up to the challenge brilliantly.

This is just a quick mention for someone who deserves our respect. An ethical politician may seem and oxymoron but young British Member of Parliament from Wales, Guto Bebb, has nothing to gain but his moral conscience, for his constant and outspoken love and support for Israel. Guto, I thank the day we met and await your return to Jerusalem to sit on our veranda and drink a good cuppa.

One thing you can be sure of if Guto was the UK representative in the UN they would definitely shout down the attempt to claim the Western Wall as Moslem and berate the leaders for allowing UNWRA, a) to exist and b) to using facebook to incite young Moslems to kill Jews.

This has been a truly amazing week. I have my sister here!! I, me, Sheila Raviv, has her big sister here with her. I wake up every morning and say to myself "You got a sister here in your home"!!! My grandchildren are absolutely devoted to her and can't get enough hugs and Rachel……….. Rachel adores her. Indeed Rachie made us the Challas again for Shabbat and this week, in honour of Auntie Doreen, we got big ones!!

Tonight, Leor and Shiri, with Amit, Gili and Ori; Amiad and Noga with Yonatan and Ella; Ira and Valeri with Shelli and Tomer and our lovely friend Danny Liwerant will all come to meet MY SISTER!!! Oh my goodness what a glorious Shabbat it will be!!! Doreen will hear Zvi's Kiddush for the first time – oh my!  In a minute I will take my sister out onto the veranda to watch Jerusalem slow down and prepare for Shabbat. The table is set and the food cooked and soon the babies will start to come. So I wish you Shabbat Shalom with a few videos to lift your spirits

A young Israeli tells the world how proud he is to be a Jew - I am that Jew

Mi sh Maamin – he who believes
This town is a family, one more another is the secret of success, the people of Israel will never, always on the map we stay. 
He who believes

Finally some old Yiddische melodies, to the beautiful paintings of Marc Chagall sent to me by Diane Steinfink. Enjoy

Shabbat Shalom dear friends. With all our love from Jerusalem, the most beautiful city in the world, the heart of Judaism and the love of our life.

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

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

151014 Day of Incited Rage and more

14th October 2015

I hate writing Mid-Week updates but you deserve to know what is really going on. Quite rightly little appeared in the media because, frankly, there are a hundred places in the world that are in infinitely worse situations. You, and I, want to know because we love this country and know that all the "hasata" incitement is untrue.

In fact, I want to start from there.

Under no circumstances has the status quo changed on the Temple Mount. We promised faithfully that we would ensure religious freedom in all the Holy sites and we have kept that promise. Indeed, the IDF presence on the Temple Mount is both limited, discreet and to prevent Jews and Christians from actually praying, rather than visiting. Yes you may need to re-read that one; we are not allowed to pray on the Temple Mount for fear of offending Moslems. This is a strange city where the Jews and Christians are not allowed to pray on the Temple Mount but Muezzins call to prayer is deafeningly loud!!!

Reiterating that the status quo is unchanged is essential because the Islamic leadership, in the North of Israel herself, under Sheik Raeed Salah (yes the one who dug 400 truckloads of history from underneath Al Aqsa) and from Hamas, has been running a campaign of incitement decrying the Jewish control of Islams Holiest sites (Mecca and Medina??) on Harm Al Sharif (The Temple Mount). From Salah's words, repeated in many a mosque and heard by angry youngsters looking for an identity, the current wave of violence emanates. He cleverly used the social media to spread his poison. He is currently on trial in Jerusalem, having returned to Israel after he was refused entry into the UK as a result of his hate activities.

My preamble has purpose because without understanding the background you cannot understand the present – as any good historian will tell you.

The attacks are terrifying.  Their purpose is to terrify, that's why it is called TERROR. to bring the "Palestinian cause" back onto the worlds agenda. The script for a poor and bloody action B movie could not be written with a more complex plot. A 13 year old Arab child leaves his home with his mother's kitchen knife, stabs an Israeli 13 year old who was riding his bicycle near home, the MDA ambulance service, including an Arab paramedic, takes the injured Israeli child to Hadassah Hospital on Mount Scopus where his life is saved by Prof. Ahmed Eid, head of the Department of General Surgery.

A Bezeq worker (Israeli citizen working in the equivalent of Telecom) suddenly decided to use his car as a weapon, ramming into two people at a bus stop then hacking at others with a machete. A passing security man shot him to stop him, but he continued, after the third shot he finally stopped wildly hacking at the air. Only later they found his Facebook page which said clearly he wanted to be a Shahid.
Two young Arabs from Jabel Mukaber, Israelis, set off to pastoral Raanana and decided to stab anyone in sight. I love the fact that they were stopped by an umbrella wielding Israeli

Finally two youngsters, again from Jabel Mukaber, caught a bus in Jerusalem, paid their ticket, sat down then ran rampage with knife and guns, killing two and injuring several.

What is the result? Closure. Yes closure. Israeli Arabs who had total freedom of movement, will now suffer. Two lovely young men who work in my convenience store here in our neighbourhood, both Jerusalemites, are scared. They are scared that Jews will think they are responsible for the outrages perpetrated by their compatriots. Men and women will find it difficult to get to work which deeply affects our hospitals, general medical clinics, pharmacies, and many other municipal services because in Jerusalem, indeed everywhere in Israel, Arabs are an integral part of society, study and take positions of responsibility. Be it Hadassah, Shaare Zedek, Tel Hashomer, our Social Medical services all have a large percentage of Arab doctors, technicians and nurses…… and patients.

Alon Ben-David is a senior correspondent for Channel 10 television and his explanation of the situation, in a video made for Keren Hayesod, is excellent and clear

Zvi insists I tell you about my experience, which wasn't that awful! I had cause to visit Hadassah Hospital Sunday and Monday. Hadassah, like all Israeli hospitals serves everyone,  and all are in their ethnic dress too! Arab, Jew, Ethiopian, ......hijab, wigs and payot. The news was excellent and we don't need to go back for a year but as we left Mevasseret, on our way home, Rachel saw a large rock flying in the air and we both heard  a boom as it hit the car. I didn't stop, one should never stop, and Rachel called the police to tell them. Apparently I was not the first to be hit from workers at the building site at the top of the hill. The young policemen were delightful, the car barely damaged and I got loads of compliments on my composure. Hey, we had good news from Hadassah and we got away scot free……….. that's good no? I told them that they threw the rock because I was too old for them to wolf whistle! 

Unfortunately, since Zvi was not 100%, we missed the Gala Opening – in the Knesset – of Reconectar, the organization to help Anusim, those whose family history shows that they are descendants of Jews who were forcibly baptized during the Spanish Inquisition and the following years. The purpose is to reconnect not to proselytise.  We were invited by Ashley Perry- Perez, the Director.

In the meantime, Jerusalem Hotels are full, no cancellations! Partly because Jerusalem hosted the IAF-IAC 66th Congress in Jerusalem by the Ministry of Science Technology and Space and their wonderful guest of honour was none other than Buzz Aldrin – remember his enthusiastic leap onto the moon and we all thought he would fly off into the ether! He absolutely loved Jerusalem.

Next week sees the Jewish Agency Board of Governors meetings which will bring fine leaders in from all over the world, and they will brainstorm our situation and yours – it is becoming difficult to be an "obvious" Jew all over the world. A kippa makes one a target. One who will make his voice heard loud and clear will be my husband. Gosh he is clever! My amazing big sister Doreen will be here for the Gala opening, her first time meeting the PM. Even better she will get to meet Tova Ben Dov, President of World WIZO, dear friend both of Zvi and I and old friend of my family.

We went to the theatre on Monday, the shops on Tuesday and are off to a wedding this evening. Life is good, we have no intention of allowing life to change!!

I chose you songs even though it isn't Shabbat
The first is kinda hip, and about our love of Jerusalem

The second is an ancient prayer, If I Forget Thee Oh Jerusalem, may my right hand lose its power and my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth  Sung by the Chief Cantor of the IDF Shai Abramson

Finally, most important of all –  Shai Abramson – the Prayer for the State of Israel. All have English subtitles

With much love from Jerusalem, the most beautiful city in the world.

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

Friday, 9 October 2015

151009 The news, The Mirror, Al Kol Eleh

9th October 2015
Shabbat Shalom dear friends. Shabbat Shalom, Salaam, Paz, Pax, Peace, Pais……. I am happy to use any word, especially that magic word Peace.

The Chagim are over, and I still haven't worked out what day of the week it is, except for the aroma of Shabbat preparations rising from the apartments beneath us. Life goes on, a new year and new incitement. Indeed incitement from Members of Knesset Ahmed Tibi and Haneen Zoabi fan the flames of discontent. Ahmed Tibi who lied about the WAQF invitation to PM Ariel Sharon to the Temple Mount and incited the 2nd Intifada.

The eyes of the world have rightly been on Syria, Yemen, Nigeria,  Iran, Iraq and other tragically mismanaged areas of the world and the PA is feeling ignored, the world is tired of their moaning with no attempt to rectify their own situation. What do you does a child do when he is ignored? He fights, bites, screams and kicks and that is what is happening now – a cry for attention. I believe that the main reason for this wave of terror attacks is that the world is tired of the Palestinian situation and has much bigger fish to fry so they want their place in the headlines back again.

One in Kiriat Arba (Hebron), Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Afula, Kiriat Gat, Petah Tikva, Tekoa, young people who's entire education has inculcated them with hatred so extreme, so deep that they are willing to forego their futures for a moment of ecstasy before Allah and a lifetimes pension for his family by trying to kill Jews. Such cruel leadership, such abuse of youngsters, I feel deep sympathy for those who are naive enough to think that their acts of terror can bring happiness and for the families who give up their sons and daughters for a cause that their leaders and UNWRA will never allow to happen. They choose very Jewish looking people, Haredi, people with kippa and soldiers for fear of killing another Arab.

We are not going anywhere and it saddens me that the normal hard working folk, Arabs, both Israeli and from the disputed territories, who just want to do a days work, earn a crust and go home again at night, will find themselves distrusted and ultimately closed in behind a big fence.

I was thinking to myself that the current situation is like a bad divorce, whereby an abusive partner not only wants the family home, children, effects, but is determined to make the life of the other partner hell through lies and perfidy in order to achieve their aims. Everyone suffers but the instigator.

Yesterday I went to a brilliant press briefing at the Jerusalem Press Club and listened carefully to two men, representatives of the middle left and middle right, one a diplomat who lives in Tel Aviv the other a young lawyer who is the Mayor of Efrat. The Mayor of Efrat was the only one who spoke of visiting his neighbours, local Moslems, who remember the days, not so long ago, when Israelis used to go to do their shopping in Hebron market on a Friday and enjoyed the company of Arabs, Jews and Christians together.

One, among many interesting aspects, was raised – if Shamir had accepted the Jordanian proposal in 1988 the West bank would have been the responsibility of Jordan. I wonder how many would have dared to fight against that regime? When there was an uprising against King Hussein, led by Yassir Arafat, Hussein simply sent his army in and killed 10,000 PLO followers. The history is fascinating

My favourite part of going to the Press Club is talking to the infinitely wise Dr Cyril Sherer, who at 90+ is not only still practicing medicine, is still involved in research and has a unique view of the current situation having come on Aliya many many years ago. I met him through Harry and Nancy Bloomfield and love his stories of treating the4 rich and famous of the Laromme, later the Inbal Hotel.

Back to the present though - Fred Maroun, is ashamed to be a Palestinian. He writes-  "From the start, we have refused to accept the existence of one tiny Jewish state. We fought that state tooth and nail using all the venom and anti-Semitism that we could muster. We isolated and mistreated our own Palestinian siblings so we could use them as tools against the Jews. We have not relented. We have not shown an ounce of compassion, humanity, or even smarts. We made the destruction of the Jewish home our signature cause. We made hate our religion. When will this nonsense stop?

According to Jewish thought, if one looks in the mirror and smiles ones reflection is happy so it is when dealing with others. In other words if one is nice to other they will be nice to us and the entire world will live in peace. Yeah right!!! In our current world a smile to ones enemy is considered an invitation to use and abuse, an open invitation to oppress. In our current world we rely on our leaders, who in the most part have failed us, perhaps because they looked in the mirror and smiled at their own image too many times, and we rely on our military leaders who are often a great deal wiser than our political leaders. Here in Israel it is young men and women, the IDF, police, Border Guards, who put themselves on the front line to protect us – and on occasion to protect innocent Arabs who are set upon by suspicious and over-aggressive Jews.

Please understand, one can dramatise the situation but that is giving in to their need for international recognition and their right to terrorise, to be in the headlines, and the less fuss we make, the less it reaches your headlines the better it is for Israel. Remember, this is minor compared to what is happening in the rest of our region. In fact, the far more serious terror of criminal killings happen every day in your society, something that is rare in Israel.

We woke to a beautiful morning. Jerusalem, indeed Israel, was washed by life-giving rain for two days and suddenly everything smells fresher.  Life will go on as usual on a Friday morning. Israel will prepare for Shabbat, either secular or religious, and families will visit each other laden with saucepans filled with goodies for the Shabbat meal. Israel doesn't scare that easily.

Today was delightful. It started with cooking and I began to write this letter before heading off to the Katamon neighbourhood where I met Angela Hexner Bengur, an old friend from Cardiff, and we sat in the gentle sunshine having breakfast. It was delicious! A finely chopped Israeli salad, with cucumbers, tomatoes, purple onion and parsley, and a cheese platter with crispy baguette, all served with wonderful coffee. Israeli cheeses are improving by leaps and bounds, rather like Israeli wines, and the array of incredible flavours (the smellier the better for my cheese tastes) was astonishing. No blood tests for me this week because none of them was exactly low fat!!!

From celebrating Angelas birthday I went to collect Rachels girls from school. I never fails to amaze me how Ramallah is closing in on Jerusalem daily yet no-one, not one leader, seems to bat an eyelid!!!! To balance my thoughts I drove over the hilltop of Samuels Tomb very slowly, taking in that incredible panorama, counting the ever increasing towers, Augusta Victoria, the Hebrew University on Mount Scopus, St Johns Church, The Leonardo Plaza, the YMCA, the Calatrava Bridge the old and the new and the myriad of white buildings, apartments, schools, houses and stores dotted in between. The hills that make up Jerusalem undulating into the distance.

Zvi is at his parliament, after a good session at the gym, and enjoying the lively discussions. It is much less noisy since Elihu BenOn took over the "chairmanship" and they choose current subjects and all discussions go through the chair. Much nicer than the verbal free for all that used to be. By the way, if you listen to Kol Yisrael overseas, especially if you speak Hebrew, should contact Elihu, he welcomes points of view. Follow him on Facebook too.

Tonight Amiad and Noga are coming with little Ella and Yonatan. Since we are just a few and the children love chicken I made Moroccan style chicken with plain rice. Since it may be cool this evening I think we will have some lovely warming pumpkin and carrot soup to start – the children love soup without "bits" as long as it is accompanied by Telma soup almonds (which by the way have never seen almonds, is nothing like croutons but they love them). Dessert………. Still uncertain I may just do fresh fruit since the honeydew melons are phenomenal right now.

I hope I haven't tired you, this is rather a long missive and not the jolliest but I try to keep my promise to keep you up to date.

I am thrilled out of my mind and cleaning our apartment as if there is no tomorrow because in another week my beautiful sister Doreen is coming to visit! I have created a whole itinerary for her and am more excited than you can imagine!!! All the glorious flowers that I planted in her honour are blooming and the trees look amazing. I can't wait! Everyone here is excited she is coming " When is Auntie Dordi coming"? was the first question on Rachel's children's lips. "When is your sister coming? " asked Zvi's grandchildren. She is coming soon. We will sit together on the veranda and just………… just…….. relax. Far from the madding crowd!!!

There is only one song that is appropriate to this week. Shabbat and weekday it lifts my spirits and soothes my soul Al Kol Eleh – Above all this

Shalom Aleichem Malachei ha Shalom - Come to us Angels of Peace, may peace be upon you. 

Shabbat Shalom dear friends. May peace come to you and to Israel. Please God we will look in the mirror and see the smiles of our neighbours in the reflection. Amen!


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

Friday, 2 October 2015

151002 Eitam and Na’ama Henkin , PM's UN Speech, Simchat Torah

2nd October 2015

Shabbat Shalom everyone! Sorry this is so late but I was deep in my Shabbat preparations and only just sat down to write. I was also a little intimidated by the news since I last put fingers to keyboard – one can no longer say pen to paper after all.

I will come to the Prime Ministers speech in a moment but, I have to start with a very sad event, one which as the PM said brought absolute silence, inaction from the foreign media. True at the same time there were other murders – a family of 6 in Houston, Texas and 6 in California, but this is different, this is hatred not criminal. An Israeli mother and father in their 30s were gunned down and killed yesterday evening in front of four of their children in the West Bank. The attackers reportedly fled to a nearby Palestinian village. The attack happened shortly before 9pm on a road between the settlements of Itamar and Elon Moreh. Eitam and Na’ama Henkin were driving four of their six children when the attack occurred. Initial reports suggest that as they slowed to turn a corner, a car sped up alongside them and opened fire. Paramedics who arrived on the scene pronounced both parents dead on arrival, while the four children aged between four months and nine years old escaped physical injury. Their 9 year old said the mourners kaddish at the funeral today. May their souls rest in peace and may their children have no memories of the horror.
Incredibly, Fatah, President Abbas own organization, proudly claimed responsibility while Hamas praised them. Apparently they are working together after all.

 I couldn't work out why PM Netanyahu stood in silence before beginning his speech in the UN. I was also baffled at the first half of his speech which was rather same-old, same-old, Iran and that darned agreement again – in fact I half expected him to come up with another picture of a cartoon bomb, and then it happened. He began to speak of what is behind his distress at the Iran deal and that clear and present threats to Israel specifically, and the world in general, with the Iranian nuclear programme. As he said, if they wanted to wipe out Israel they already could, the war heads they want to manufacture will reach Europe and the USA! He spoke out about the silence, the deafening silence of world leaders when yet again Jews are the target of mass death threats. Then he was again silent, for 45 seconds, which sadly drew attention from what he had to say.
The PM continued describing the wonderful inventions and innovations of Israel, without which the modern world would be so different, and the ludicrous actions of the UN Security and Human Rights Councils against those who really threaten our world. Worth listening to.  

After our lovely visit up north with the children, playing beside the Kinneret, horse riding, kayaking and eating too much and too often, Zvi and I went to visit Zvi's lovely cousins Gabby and Dvora. Gabby is an excellent chemist (not pharmacist but chemistry type chemist) and Gabby explained the entire situation with Iran, that it is really a political sidetracking throughout the West because the greatest danger is not of a nuclear holocaust but rather from a dirty bomb carried on the back of a willing member of ISIS, Al Qaeeda, Hamas, Hezb-Allah or any of the myriad of other murderous fanatics. A small bomb, in a backpack, when released could cause infinite deaths and poison the earth for eternity. How do we know who? We don't. We are gullible, naïve and ingenuous all mixed up together. We are kind hearted fools, our fear of past xenophobia has made us ideal targets. It terrified me.

So, dare I look at the gorgeous things that happened to us this week? I think it is essential!!!
As I told you our trip to the Kinneret was excellent. Thoroughly enjoyable with 5 grandchildren, Amit, Gili, Ori, Ella and little Yonatan and 6 adults the ratio was ideal.

Yesterday Zvi and I took Yosef, Talia and Ayala on an adventure day. We started with horse-riding at Amirs stables, a marvelous place near Ramot which has facilities for disabled riding too. We went on to a huge playground, ate lunch then to the climbing walls under the football stadium near our home. Zvi was very brave holding the support ropes and the children climbed to their hearts content. We were both exhausted at the end of the day – but the children were happy!!!

What do you think of when you hear the word Israel? Bible, war, terror, news………….. well Diane Steinfink sent me this link to remind you what Israel really is.

Nearly Simchat Torah – literally the Joy of the Torah – where we read the final weekly portion of the Torah and rewind the ancient scroll to the beginning to start all over again. Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, former Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth, talks of the love of the Jewish people for the Torah, and how it turns into a bride on Simchat Torah

Not just a bride but a joyous bride! Dancing in the streets

Have you noticed how often we say Shalom? Shalom, peace is in almost every Israeli song and most Jewish songs. It is what we seek and what we believe in. Shalom Lecha Dodi is a beautiful Shabbat Song. Not Lecha Dodi but Shalom Lecha Dodi, Peace be with you my friend.

Shabbat Shalom, Chag Sameach and back to the preparation because it is almost Shabbat. We have friends coming for supper tonight so we have a full menu. Home-made Challot this week, Salads galore, roasted cauliflower, both in Turmeric and olive oil and in Tehina, Roast vegetables, Quenelles of fish in Chraimeh, Whole Sea Bass in Lemon and spices, Salmon in Teriyaki, and lots of other surprises. So I must run before Shabbat.

I am so grateful as I look over Jerusalem, quiet and peaceful as Shabbat nears. Grateful that this city honours the Muezzin and the Church bells just as she does the Jewish festivals. I am truly grateful for the view from my veranda – and the trees and flowers which garland our panorama.

Shabbat Shalom to you all
With much love