Friday, 25 August 2017
170825 Barcelona, Charlottesville, Tuscany
25th of August 2017
Shabbat Shalom dear friends. Back from a delightful sojourn in Italy, in glorious Tuscany, with all of Zvi's family and thrilled to be back in Israel. Last night I made our favourite salad and believe you me, there are no vegetables, anywhere in the world, like those in Israel. I know that every cucumber, tomato and lettuce was picked within the last day and brought straight to the supermarket without any preservatives. Scrummy!!!
While we were away, horrific terror attacks took place in Barcelona, beautiful Barcelona, and in Russia and Finland. They are getting braver and more daring – unafraid of detection because they operate in closed communities where even the most modern of Moslems doesn't dare to tell the authorities because he fears for the lives of his children and the police fear to tread.
There is an even more serious reason why their terror attacks succeed. The Archbishop of Barcelona, Cardinal Juan Jose Omella and the Barcelona police warned the Mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, of the impending attack, suggesting putting barriers at the entrance to the Ramblas; Ms Colau, a far left representative who chose to ignore the warnings created a situation which allowed the deaths, nay slaughter of 13 innocents and many more injured, to say nothing of those who saw the attack and will never be the same. The Barcelona police wisely did what had to be done after the attack and reached the remaining perpetrators discovering the cache of gas cannisters set to perform an even worse attack. The Barcelona supporters have been asked to hide their identity at the upcoming international football match for fear of being singled out for attack – sounds all too familiar.
Strangely enough the Italians take no such chances. Last year we were in Rome and Florence and saw the immense security, Huge police presence and soldiers with armoured cars and automatic weapons cocked and ready at almost every tourist and religious site, this year we saw it in even the much smaller towns. We thanked many of them personally.
The cause of the reaction of Barcelona's Mayor and many Europeans is clear. A continent that lost over 30,000,000 people to xenophobia has gone to the other extreme, trying to repent its history. They rejected their Jews, rejected many other immigrants and those of different views and appearances for many centuries and their reaction is to provide a welcome and open society – which is proving their downfall. When you have a constant trickle of immigrants, they thankfully absorb the customs and traditions of the host society, when you have a tidal wave it changes the host society forever. It can be positive, as happened in Israel with the Russian immigration most of whom are now more Israeli than the average Sabra, or it can be negative as with the extreme Islamic immigration to Europe and elsewhere who expect society to change to their religious views and laws threatening the host society and all ordinary hard working Moslems.
So you think it all started a few years ago? You think it's all about Palestine? 87 years ago they blamed it on the Jews for endangering Al Aqsa – the Hebron and Jerusalem massacres https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1VZwhiz0P1Q
Remember, when you feared coming to Israel because of terror attacks, I told you that Israel is just the hors d'oeuvres, your country is the main course? Well apparently I forgot the soup course, which is Europe – the main course is still the USA as representative of all that is free and Western.
Since our villa had no television and I barely managed to reach the outside world I was amazed to realise the extent and repercussions of the riots in Charlottesville. From the outside it is hard to know who started it, who came ready for a fight and why. Clearly the ultra-right like the KKK and their devotees waded in with their vile hate speech but were they the only ones? The extremes of both sides tend to have their instigators but it certainly looked as if it was the white supremacy base who began the fight, using the lax Virginian gun laws to arm themselves, although every other faction seemed ready wade in. I find it so confusing as a non-American and I prefer not to state opinion but it saddens me that such division still exists.
We arrived back in Israel to all the usual problems. The PM's wife is under investigation, the PM too, all those surrounding the Israeli purchase of submarines from Germany. The Germans are threatening to invoke the clause in the purchase agreement that no corruption or back handers be involved in the deal which is causing huge embarrassment and may well mean that they will back out of our deal.
President Trump is concerned that PM Netanyahu is meeting with President Putin to complain about the Russian involvement in Syria and other Middle Eastern issues. Israel is not cosying up with Russia but as Sir Winston Churchill said "Better to jaw-jaw than war-war".
Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt are back despite the Presidents belief that the talks are unlikely to bear fruit. I am just happy that they have not given up.
The relationship between United States Jewry and Israel worries me. We should be like a big family, with our differences but loyal and true to each other. I understand that all strands of Judaism want their say, and rightly so, so the answer is the same as in any democracy – if you want change run for office!!!! One cannot dictate the policies of another country on any level without taking part in the political process. With-holding support whatever form is takes, is negative on every level, for you, for us and for our family.
The Lebanese beauty queen chose to visit Israel and has been stripped of her title – so much for good neighbours!!!
Our journey back from Bologna, Italy took a slightly odd course (as did our journey there) through Istanbul Airport. Turkish Airlines deserves its position as number 3 best airline and flies several times a day from Ben Gurion Airport. The airport itself fascinated me, its range of peoples so extreme from the heavily black-clad Moslem women whose eyes looked furtively through a tiny slit in their garb, who had to half-lift their veil to pop food carefully underneath to everyday tourists and a Duty Free with as much alcohol as anyone wished to buy!!!
As we sat at the gate we talked to Latino Evangelical Christians from the USA on pilgrimage to the Holy Land; two Israeli Arab youth soccer teams who proudly held their first place cups from an international meet (the stupid Turkish security people almost stopped their coach from boarding the plane!); a young couple coming to judge the Salsa festival in Tel Aviv; students from Nepal who are studying agronomy at the International Agriculture School in the Negev; Israeli Moslems who were holidaying in Turkey and Israelis of all varieties. Again I was struck by the infinite rainbow that makes up Israel.
It was a time for family. Zvi and I were in Italy with Zvi's boys and their families while Rachel and the children were in the UK with Rachel's father and her big brother Gideon and family. We travelled to every possible Tuscan town, my absolute favourite being Lucca, we did the Pasta, Pizza, Gelato tour and after our arrival home with fond memories found a message on Zvi's phone from little 4 year old Ella speaking clear as a bell saying that she loves us very much and thank you to Saba Zvi for all the presents and her holiday!
We were met in at the airport by our friends Amit and Chona, bearing that days newspapers. It was such a pleasure not to worry about taxis and Sheruts! After two wash loads I went to bed and awoke to go and choose our new car – seeing our old dead one revived with a new engine made us think twice but while we decide our friend and owner of the agency lent us his own care for the weekend which enabled me to set off to see Rachel and swap stories of our vacations. It energized me to travel the familiar route over Samuel's Tomb and down the other side to Givat Zeev but the welcome I got was the very best! As I walked in the door I suddenly saw my Yosef wearing his brand new Tefillin (phylacteries) as his Dad Igal taught him how to put them on as in the time worn tradition. Hard to believe that the baby I saw come into the world is nearly Bar Mitzva!!!
Tonight we will go to Rachel and Igal for Shabbat Dinner. It is very special to be part of a Haredi Shabbat. The children, Yosef, Talia and Ayala absolutely adore Saba Zvi and we will be surrounded by love and tradition – with the songs and prayers of the Eastern Traditions. Rachie is a brilliant cook so it will also be delicious!!!
And so to music
Every Friday night as the family sits down to the Shabbat meal the husband sings this song of praise to his wife. Today there are claims that it is sexist but I love it and believe it shows rare honour to womankind https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ohhNNj37b38
In the light of what happened in Charlottesville and all over our confused world.
Shed a Little Light to honour Dr Martin Luther King's Dream by the Maccabeats and guests Naturally 7 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=crKDDS5D_os
Finally, the question we all ask of ourselves – How many roads must a man walk down before they'll call him a man? The answer is indeed Blowin in the Wind https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G58XWF6B3AA
That's it! I am sure I missed something out but I try!!!
This week the Shabbat Shalom from Our Veranda comes from
Zvi and Sheila, Daniel and Karen, Gideon and Stephanie, Leor and Shiri, Rachel and Igal, Amiad and Noga and of course Yosef, Sammy, Talia, Olivia, Amit, Joshua, Ayala, Zachary, Gili, Ori, Callie, Ella and Yonatan………Why everyone? because family is all
With much love from beautiful Jerusalem