# 175 – Far From the Madding Shroud by Stephen Pohlmann - Ourboox.com
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# 175 – Far From the Madding Shroud

Helping others to understand Israel - and Israelis to understand others...
  • Joined Sep 2016
  • Published Books 409

February 19, 2011

It’s the Sabbath – I need to mention that sometimes  – as a reminder (not that it is so important) that Israel celebrates the ORIGINAL Sabbath, the one on Saturday. I grew up with Sunday being the day of rest. So for me, it’s still a novelty.


Really don’t want to mention much about the current situation across the Muslim World. But….

Kaddafi’s reaction has killed ‘over 100’ already. There are dead in Bahrain, Yemen’s in a mess, Jordan is shaking to the sound of protests, Algeria, Iran, Tunisia – the princes of Saudi must be shaking in their sandals. There’s even unrest in the West Bank….You watch: the international media will really jump on anything happening there…


À propos Saudi – I was there a couple of times in late l979. One of my customers was Jeddah Medical Clinic, run by a dentist, Guy Pharaon. He, his father and his uncle were all in the International listing ‘Who’s Who’. His father was adviser to the King, his uncle owned perhaps the largest construction company in the country, and Guy himself ran a company that specialised in building homes for the ‘Europeans’, those who lived in compounds behind walls, where alcohol was a-plenty, and topless bathing a common sight by the pool.


It was just after the Iranian revolution. Guy was from a mixed family: what was called ‘an honorary Saudi’. He knew that an overthrow of the Saudi royal family was a real possibility, and he and his family were prepared. He had at least 1% of his wealth outside the country to be ‘OK for life’. (His office ‘outside’ was in Kensington, London).

The Saudi royal family have been trying to give their people just enough to be happy. But the current unrest could be that last straw…


Current US policy – understandably pathetic. They can’t stay quiet. Yet whatever they say will have some ramifications, many negative. Diplomacy is drenched in Wiki-pee. Most diplomats are now scared to negotiate. (I presume you know that Saeb Erekat resigned over the Pali-leaks. He’s the chief Palestinian negotiator).

(I know – yesterday the US used their veto against the UN resolution re Jewish settlements in the West Bank. I’ve written enough on this boring subject. Any questions?)


If  the region were ‘officially’ not so anti-Israel, we could expect some statements (from ANY quarter, whether from Israel, US or any other source)  that a peaceful region, co-operating with the only country that is ‘officially’ democratic, is now a possibility. Don’t hold your breath.


I mentioned Jordan, considered by many to be a moderate, especially having signed a peace treaty with Israel. Some reminders (from MY point of view. OK?) –

* Perhaps 65% of the population are Palestinians

* A very poor country – 30% of the population under 20 – all Muslim (not 1 Jewish citizen) – high unemployment – few good prospects.


* When the Palestinians threatened to overthrow the Hashemites, back in 1970, King Hussein gave orders for the military to move in. Jordan claims only 3,000 Palestinians were killed. The Palestinians claim the number was 10,000. (Arafat said it was 20,000). Either way, who’s the moderate country? (I have to remind you – yet again – that ’17-40,000′ were massacred in the town of Hama in Syria in Feb. 1982, when there was a Muslim Brotherhood uprising)

* And now, an incredible story –


In 1997, a Jordanian shot across the border at Israeli girls who were on a school trip. He killed 7 and wounded another 7.

Ahmed Daqamseh, a former Jordanian soldier, was sentenced to life (25 years) behind bars.


Soon after the attack, which came three years after Israel and Jordan signed a peace treaty, Jordan’s King Hussein visited Israel to see the girls’ families and express his regret – a move most welcomed by Israel.

During the recent unrest in Jordan, the new Jordanian justice minister Hussein Mjali joined anti-Israel demonstrators to demand Daqamseh’s release.


Mr Mjali was appointed to the justice ministry last week after King Abdullah dismissed his government and asked the prime minister to form a new cabinet. Considered close to the Jordanian opposition (get this!!) he served as Daqamseh’s defence lawyer and during the demonstration was quoted describing his former client as a “hero” during the rally.

Israel formally complained.


A Jordanian government spokesman said Mr Mjali was not representing the government when he made his comments and that Daqamseh would not be released. But the spokesman said the minister had “the right to express himself.”

So Aviva and I said – to Hell with the desk and the supermarket – we joined our sister & brother-in-law in the Golan – and here are some of the results of that dangerous action –





For those horticulturists among you, these are yellow, orange and brown.


Then we cam across the Moshav of Aniam – a name from the Bible, but simply meaning ‘I am a Nation’. There is a new ‘street of art’. And outside one of the houses, we met this guy. If he’s not an artist, who is!

So he was the main attraction – but have a look at the door, sculpted in natural wood by his son. (That’s me, by the way)













An overview of part of the study, with wooden pieces by the son, Boticelli-like figures by his Russian wife, and delicate images of textiles etc. by himself. What a family.

That’s a bed in the middle, with a bent hammer inside – and the next image is a giant pencil-sharpener




and hers…         




And this is the ceramist next door – a functioning sink.



I could show you so much more. But then, in the constantly-changing weather, we spent a while at Gamla reserve. Gamla is a valley with a ‘spitz’ in the middle. On the spitz, in Roman times, another example of the ruins (like Massada) of a Jewish rebellion against the Roman army.


And now it is a vulture and eagle sanctuary. Vultures are permanent; the eagles visit. Tragically, a few years ago, nearby farmers mistakenly used DDT and killed a large number of the birds. But they have survived. And we can sit there, in total silence, as these kings of the sky float past in calm majesty….

# 175 – Far From the Madding Shroud by Stephen Pohlmann - Ourboox.com

I learnt recently that, before deleting an image, have another look at it….vultures.

# 175 – Far From the Madding Shroud by Stephen Pohlmann - Ourboox.com

And finally, on the way home, we crossed the strong-flowing Jordan..

# 175 – Far From the Madding Shroud by Stephen Pohlmann - Ourboox.com

Have a warm weekend…


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