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Israel Creates and Builds
Last uploaded : Friday 5th Sep 2003 at 18:22
Contributed by : Sheila Raviv



It seems incredible that it is three years since we watched all the hand-shaking and promises which preceded that terrible Friday that heralded the start of the current Intifada. I still have the sight of an extremely reluctant Yitchak Rabin trying to watch birds fly by so as not to look at Arafat on the White House lawn..he knew, I am sure he knew. As a soldier his gut feeling was against it, but his political advisors were pushing him. Yet, Oslo brought so much hope that the subsequent trauma of the vehemence of the Intifada brought deep despair. If this could happen after we had offered to give everything demanded, and some, how would we ever reach peace?

Yesterday I learned what the word WAQF meant. During the Ottoman occupation of this area the Holy Land was declared WAQF, unchangeable. The entire area is considered unchangeable and unbuildable by Moslem edict. By enabling WAQF they can deny our rights to build or live there; only Moslems can over-ride the edict.

We are still trying, but the responses will remain the same until Arafat leaves the scene. Arafat, Sheikh Yassin (whom the USA demanded we release from prison four years ago because he was dying!!!), and all of the "Old Guard" whose failing eyesight means they cannot see their way toward peace.

During these three years of terror, increasing
anti-semitism and Israelaphobia, Israel has managed to produce incredible, life-saving inventions in the field of medicine and science. We have continued in the fields of excellence and will not turn our thoughts to destruction; it is not the Jewish way. We are taught "Tikkun Olam" (to leave the world a better place than we found it) not "Heres Olam" (world

So this week, and next week and the one after that we have music festivals in Caesaria (Shlomo Artzi and Sarit Haddad); we have street festivals in Jerusalem; theatre, concerts, weddings, bar-mitvas and a celebration of life wherever you turn.

A recent survey shows that nearly 85% of Israelis are satisfied with their lives and their country despite the current economic hardships. Israelis have not been cowed by terror; we stand tall and we choose to live life to the fullest. After all, a country whose
anthem is "The Hope" can hardly think differently!!!!

I have a favourite Israeli song, "Al Kol Eleh" ("Above all" )which says that life comes with both the honey and the sting, the bitter and the sweet, but above all this, life is good. When a man comes home from a long day's work or one sees a child, a tree a flower, all this makes life worthwhile.

We should be so proud of our country, of our Israel, this beautiful, complex, welcoming, noisy, productive, inventive and giving country. This is a country where the moment I told friends about a lovely lady called
Hanna bat Zissel who is in Toronto for serious heart surgery, a prayer round was set in motion. We should be so busy cheering Israel's achievements that the sound of the deniers will be drowned out.

Shabbat Shalom.

Sheila Raviv


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