July 25, 2008
I prefer writing about –
Gordon Brown visiting a political leader who perhaps is less popular at home than he, and who has perhaps less time to reign than he. (And with Obama visiting Israel 2 days later, who’s George Brown?).
Yesterday, discovered the unbelievable development that has been going in Jerusalem, despite not only what YOU read, but we, too. Right next to the Old City, within (literally) stone’s-throwing distance of the Jaffa Gate, a whole new neighbourhood, with open malls, outdoor cafes, artwork on the Jerusalem stone walls.
We later attended a memorial in memory of those who fell during the 6-Day War on Givat Tachmoshet – Ammunition Hill. My brother-in-law was involved in the battles, partly with a gun, but happily/mostly with a brush. His sketches recorded moments and scenes that hang deep in the hearts here. I met some of his fellow-veterans. Some of them spoke of their memories and their thanks to Dani for his visual recordings. A young lady played Bach on the flute, and another, songs of Jerusalem on the e-piano. Cultured memories.
There was a show 3 nights ago next to Herzlia marina, featuring an evening of Irish/Celtic music…..
And a concert in the new Herzlia park 5 days ago, featuring 2 of Israel’s most popular singers (perhaps our equivalent of Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman, but much more fun).
For me, the real star of the show was a man called Peter Wertheimer. a brilliant musician, featuring saxophone, clarinet, flute & 2 others. With his flowing white fair, beard and moustache, he already is a great-looking character. But his playing was really something.
I was at the Carmel open market yesterday with Aviva. Not too long, so I did not suffer. Aviva bought some bourekas. While choosing them, an old man, decently dressed, came to the vendor and offered him a few leaves of what appeared to be parsley. Strange.
The vendor smelt them, appeared to enjoy the odour, then withdrew some coins from his pocket and handed them to the old man. But when the parsley was placed in his hand, he shook his head ever so slightly and indicated to them man that he should keep it.
The old man then beckoned for the vendor to lean forward. He then placed a shaky old hand on the vendor’s head and said a prayer over him. Ten seconds perhaps. They then exchanged greetings with a flick of the eyes and the old man went on is way.
But I HAVE to write about Ahlkam Tamimi. You may have heard enough about Samir Kuntar, the ‘hero of Lebanon’. But look what’s coming next…Samir was only in for 4 life sentences. Tamimi’s in for 16 of them – consecutive. I think the judge was hinting at something – and it was surely not that she should be out in 5 years.
Who is she, you’re screaming to know. In late 2000, she had placed explosives at a Jerusalem supermarket which were discovered before they went off. She was not caught. This time, she and Izzadin al-Masri smuggled 10 kg. of explosive through Israeli security.
While he was thoroughly searched, she, being female, 23 years old, attractive, dressed in western clothes, speaking English, was less thoroughly searched. She and the guitar case were let through. They then got back in their car and continued to Jerusalem. They parked the car near the Old City and walked together. She chose the target, Sbarro’s pizza restaurant.
More women and kids there. She instructed him to wait 15 minutes; didn’t want to get her shoes dirty.
So she’s in Israeli jail. Like Kuntar, she’s been treated, dare I say, with dignity and fairness. She can dress as she chose, has full visiting rights, can socialise with her fellow-prisoners, even decorated her own cell. She is permitted to study, practice her religion, even was allowed to wed (her cousin and fellow terrorist, Nizar Tamimi).
They allowed her to give 2 interviews, resulting in a NY Times article which featured her as a glamorous, smiling person.
Are we dumb or what…
I was described recently as not being objective in these ‘Letters from Israel’. Surely ‘objectivity’ and ‘subjectivity’ depend so much on one’s point of view, and that spectrum does stretch from there to here.
It constantly saddens me that Israelis are referred to in the same terms as the Palestinians – or Hamas – or Hezbollah. I believe I am being objective when I try to open people’s eyes to reality – a reality which is peering round all (of your) doors.
Dare I whisper that you should listen to Brigitte Gabriel, a Lebanese Christian who, via a difficult childhood surrounded by terror, has discovered the words ‘compassion’ and ‘common decency’, and who’s book ‘Because They Hate’, acts as an Insight into just what’s going on ‘around us all’.
She appears to be extreme – even to me, somewhat. But that’s going back to ‘it depends on your point of view’. Prepare a cup of coffee and see her lecture to Heritage.org. She hints of rather right-wing activities, hankering back to McCarthyism. But something’s gotta be done, and soon.