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Letter from Jerusalem
Last uploaded : Sunday 13th Jul 2003 at 12:25
Contributed by : Sheila Raviv


9th July 2003

Shabbat Shalom! I am back on my "High Horse" again!

Stupidity in the name of liberalism has oft been the disease of Israel's left. Now the Jerusalem Foundation (the private Foundation, not the one that belongs to the City) has chosen to invite Amiri Baraka to take part in the Jerusalem Poetry Fair. Baraka refused the invitation but the Foundation is trying to secure his arrival!!! Mr Baraka was deposed from his laureate-ship of New Jersey, USA, after publication of his poem claiming Israeli prior knowledge and involvement in September 11th. Baraka never retracted his accusations. UJC Metrowest (New Jersey) through their Israeli representative Amir Shacham, asked the Foundation to retract the invitation, to no avail.

This is a slap in the face for Israel, for those who died on September 11th and for the New Jersey
community. It comes not as a surprise for the
Jerusalem Foundation has never bowed to democracy.

Their penchant for defying democracy reached its
zenith when the Directorate took the Foundation away from the city of Jerusalem just because they didn't like the results of the democratic election of Mayor Olmert. This recent incident is simply a continuation of their lack of respect for the rights of others.

Talking of poetry, Chaim Avraham, father of Benny, has written a book of poetry about being the father of Benny, one of the boys who were kidnapped by Hisbollah 1,007 days ago. He called to tell me that he wanted us to read the book. He called to tell me his heart was breaking. He called to tell me that when the families
heard that three bodies had been found they prayed they were the bodies of their sons. Can you imagine the depth of despair when hope is gone and all that is left to pray for is the body of your child?

We have returned to talk of appeasement yet again with the release of a load of petty criminals, car thieves and burglars in exchange the Palestinians will not blow innocents to smithereens. Maybe it is time to say "Ok we release no-one and we will fight you until you
secure the release of the Israeli MIAs. We will not go forward until the Palestinians fulfill even the tiniest portion of their responsibilities to the Geneva Convention. There are those who fight the good fight, and I must mention the Davidka Foundation which represents the tireless work of one Christian lady from Holland. Thank You and Kol Hakavod.

Chaim came to Jerusalem yesterday, together with the other families, the Avitans, Souads, Baumans, Arads and Tennenbaums to attend a Knesset debate on the MIAs. Edna, Benny's Mum, couldn't face it. She swears that she will never enter "that building" until they bring her baby home. It is hard to argue with the tears of a Mother.

Mohammed Abbas "Abu Mazen" has come to the same
conclusions that Israeli leaders came to a long, long time ago, that Arafat is an unmovable obstacle in the path to peace. Last night Abbas threatened to resign after his attempts at "Hudna" were yet again thwarted by Arafat's intransigent need for terror. Arafat is still very much in control, but Israel will be blamed

Now for the good news!!!!!! Just in case you were not aware of it, I am inordinately proud of the work done by my husband and the NEW Jerusalem Foundation. Zvi works very closely with the Social Services Department of the Jerusalem Municipality. Since he first heard of
the terrible financial situation of many families of victims of the Kiriat Menachem bus bombing earlier in the year, Zvi and his team have taken great interest in the welfare of the neighbourhood. The Municipality, the NJF and the Dvora Foundation came together to create a gorgeous street party to bring joy into their
lives! Thanks go to Valerie Adler for pushing this great idea forward.

Dancers and singers from Togo, Brazil, Mexico,
Ukraine, Russia, and other countries participated in the parade. Children happily created models from plaster of Paris and painted pictures. Young and old danced lambada and samba through the streets. The most amazing sight was when the Togo group, dressed in sacking and wooden war masks, sat aside resting. A little boy, barely two years old, broke away from his
mother. Unafraid of the war masks he went and stroked the masks, sitting on one of the dancer's knee. The people of Ir Ganim and Kiriat Menachem knew joy, if only for a while.

Finally, Zvi and I were invited to the El Salvadorian Embassy for supper. It was a pleasure for many reasons. This tiny nation is braver than the USA, braver than the UK, braver than Russia, France, Canada, Australia and all the others put together because their Embassy is and always has been here in Jerusalem, the Capital City of Israel!!!!! Suzy (the
Ambassadrix) and Dave are lovely people and supper was gorgeous!!) El Salvador, doesn't bow down to bullies!!!! Until the United States moves the Embassy to Jerusalem, as it has in all other nations without consideration of politics, we will never have peace in this country. Go on President Bush, be brave like El Salvador!!!!

Talking of Ambassadors, British Ambassador Sherard Cowper-Coles is sadly leaving Israel for his next posting in Saudi Arabia. Ambassador Coles has been an example to all those who aspire to the Israeli posting. He learned Hebrew, which he insisted upon using for his many interviews on television and radio
and he brought humour and grace to his position. He will be sorely missed. Ambassador Cowper-Coles had picked out the spot for the British Embassy in Jerusalem and visited the site regularly, sadly the Embassy will not be built during his time, but I have no doubt he will visit the many friends he leaves behind.

I wish you all Shabbat Shalom. Be proud of what you are and never forget the basis of the Judeo-Christian traditions.TIKUN OLAM. Tikun Olam literally means to "repair the world".leave the world a better place than you found it. Sometimes a smile in the right place can
do it!


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