uploaded : Friday 14th Nov 2003 at 12:11
by : Sheila Raviv
13th November 2003
Womens' Rights in Israel are not in question; they exist, in fact most Israeli men would claim that they are the ones who need rights, not the women!!! Last night we went to dinner, in one of Jerusalem's many great restaurants, with some
delightful people. Orit and Shuki Adato are warm, bright, caring people. Orit reached the rank of General in IDF and when she retired from that position she was asked to be in charge of the Israeli Prison System. As if that was not
enough for this energetic mother she is also now Vice President of the International Corrections and Prisons Association whose head offices are based in Ottawa. Prisoners' rights and the rehabilitation of abusive husbands have
become her specialities.
The evening was specially for our friend Kathy Fernandez-Rundle who is the Attorney General of Miami-Dade, Florida, so that she could meet some real-life Israelis who are involved in the legal processes. Our group included Dorit Beinisch, Supreme Court Judge and future President of the Israeli Supreme Court and her lawyer husband Yechezkiel and Miami lawyer David Efron. Conversations led to a comparison between the American and Israeli Supreme Courts. In the USA
very few cases ever reach the Supreme Court and they are mostly appeals; in Israel thousands and thousands of cases from the inane to the vital reach the court. The Purpose of the Supreme Court is access for all citizens and the
right to bring any public official to court for misuse of power. Indeed, this includes the Palestinian Authority, where if an Israeli official does not behave in a correct manner a Palestinian can bring him to the Israeli Supreme
Court. And to think we are accused of not honouring their human rights, they do
not have those rights in their own country!!!
On Guantanamo by comparison it has taken a petition to give them the right to trial and contact with the outside world. Israeli prisoners, including terrorists have the right to trial, a lawyer, family contact without needing to resort to outside pressure.
Talking of prisoners, after a tense Cabinet vote, culminating in a 12-11 majority, the planned exchange of Palestinian prisoners will take place. If only the return of the three Israeli boys were dependent only on a democratic vote. Sheik Nasrallah of the Hisbolla will play his cards to the end. I just want you to see the letter Haim Avraham, father of Benny, one of the three boys kidnapped by the Hisbollah, wrote to me yesterday. His English is not great but his emotions are clear.
Dear Sheila and Zvi
The government dissided today to complete the negotiation to bring the boys
we hope that all the tears will come to end in a few weeks
Haim and Edna
As you already know, I love people who DO. Our lovely friend Kim is DOING this week. A busy doctor from Canada, Kim heard about a course held in Israel to train medical professionals to deal with emergency situations and immediately
jumped on a plane! The course was set up for those who would come to Israel to help if a tragedy occurred but has proven to be helpful in any country...especially with today's threats.
My friend Jill is here now too, she came with the Leeds (UK) solidarity mission. Jill read something amazing in the Jerusalem Post. Apparently in this month of Ramadan there will be two eclipses, one lunar and one solar. In Moslem teachings when that happens a huge event
will occur and that Washington, New York and Los Angeles are in danger and should be evacuated.
Why should the big event be cataclysmic for non-Moslems? Where is it written? Why can't it be for the good ?
This is the week thousands have begun to arrive in Jerusalem. This glorious city will be host to some 5,500 people for the General Assembly of American Organisations, the Keren Hayesod Conference and many, many missions and groups
from all over the world. Even the weather promises to rise to the occasion and give us a final burst of warm sunshine for the next week.
David Bar-Illan died this week. We grew to know him while he was in hospital after his heart attack, watching the absolute devotion of his son Jeremy who never left his side. David Bar-Illan, former Editor of the Jerusalem Post, was
known for his musical brilliance, his political astuteness and his ability to judge a situation with equanimity. He understood exactly what was happening in the Middle East and wrote his prognosis for the area long before we mere
mortals woke up to the truth. His kind of honesty and ability will be sorely
missed. May he rest in peace.
Finally I want to call you to arms. I want each and every one of you to "adopt" a journalist. It has been proven over and over again that press conferences and statements do not work. If we want to get the truth out there TALK TO YOUR LOCAL PAPER. Do not badger, or criticise, most certainly do not try to persuade anyone that your truth is the only truth. Suggest that they read history. Start with Exodus so that they know why we are here. Oh Jerusalem, Beirut to Jerusalem, Six Days of War, Abba Ebans My People, The Source...all make perfect
reading. Don't argue, help people to find their own truth. The most important role in this world is to believe in something and ensure its fruition.
I wish you a Shabbat shalom and a future world in which miracles of nature such as eclipses are seen not as omens of doom but for what they are, beauteous miracles.