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Jerusalem is Bustling
Last uploaded : Thursday 22nd Aug 2002 at 18:05
Contributed by : Sheila Raviv



This has been such an interesting week. I have been seeing Jerusalem, and Israel, through the eyes of my friend Jill. Jill has been here many many times, she is like a sister to me, but this time she is comparing the truth with what she sees and hears on the news in the UK.

She is amazed to see the streets full of shoppers; the restaurants filled to capacity; the shops busy; the shopping malls are not only full but with many activities for children during the long vacation. At the initiative of the
Mayor, Ben Yehuda pedestrian Mall celebrates a different fair every week. Food fairs, crafts fairs, any type of fair to encourage people back to the centre of town.

What surprised Jill most of all is that contrary to the news items, Arab women, in full Moslem garb, with their children, walk unnoticed, shop unnoticed and enjoy the freedom of walking in safety, rights that they deny us in their towns.

The enrollment of overseas student at the Hebrew University programmes has continued unabated and with full enrolment. We caught the gang who
perpetrated that crime, and other similar dastardly acts in Jerusalem and other towns. All of them have full Israeli citizenship, all from East Jerusalem, all with regular incomes, all trusted employees.

Christie Blatchford, of the Canadian newspaper The National Post, came with other Torontonians and we had dinner together at the King David. Christie is best friends with another wonderful Toronto journalist, Rosie Di Manno; you should all check out their writings. They are the voice of reason in a sea of vitriol. I was amazed to hear that Toronto produces the greatest number of
groups visiting Israel, more than any other community. At least one group every month!

Rebecca Weinberger has strong ties with the diplomatic community, particularly those whose embassies are in Jerusalem and the environs. Rebecca holds information receptions for said diplomats and her doctor husband Gerald enjoys his busy wife's hospitality sessions. This week we met with the outgoing Paraguyan ambassador. Israel is closing the mission in Paraguay for
financial reasons and the Paraguayans are responding. The Ambassador is sad to leave,
his stay here has been both challenging and heartwarming. Paraguay's vote swayed the establishment of the State of Israel at the United Nations in 1947.
Vote number 31.

I am also very proud of Michal Korman, my close friends' daughter. Michey is playing first cello in an international youth orchestra in Berlin, under the baton of Daniel Barenboim. Another achievement for Israel.

Kinneret Chaya's sister, Nitzan received her first hug this week. [Editor's Note: Kinneret was horribly injured in the Moments Cafe bombing in Tel Aviv last spring.] Until now such a prospect was too painful. This has been a very hard week emotionally for Kinneret Chaya. Now that she is beginning to look toward her future rather
than fighting to stay alive, she is beginning to understand exactly what has happened to her. The tragedy, the trauma, the anger, the deep deep melancholy of knowing that nothing will ever be the same.

Zvi and I went to a wedding last night. We sat with old old friends of [my husband ]Zvi. Netta
asked me what I was doing these days and I told her about my writings and about a young woman who was hurt in a pigu'a. "Do you mean Kinneret?" she asked. I was staggered. "Did you hear about her from one of our other firends? Did you read about her in the paper?" I asked. "No, I was the psychologist who met the family at Ichilov Hospital immediately after the bombing. I remember Anat, beautiful and terrified, searching for her little sister, praying she was still alive. I helped her to find Kinneret."

I have sent Netta the letters describing Kinneret's struggle back to life. I will take her to the hospital.There she can meet Itsik Kochav, who saved Kinneret from the inferno.

I just want to tell you that the last two years has brought out the very best in human beings and the very worst in in human beings. The goodness and generosity of spirit that I have encountered has reassured me of the benevolence of humankind. I am so proud of my country where life is embraced
fully despite the attempts of other to end our freedom.

With much love for a Shabbat filled with human kindness.

FOR INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT zraviv@jerusalem.muni.il


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