In the Land with Ronnie – April 2007

Springtime in the Holy land. Well, it seemed to me that we had our share of rain this year, although they still say that the Sea of Galilee is still below the “Red Line”. I think it’s still early to say because all that snow that fell upon Mt. Hermon and the Golan Heights will eventually melt and run into the Sea. Nevertheless, spring is always beautiful in Israel, and for those who have visited for the first time expecting to see sand dunes and Arabs on camels were pretty surprised to see the lushness and beauty of the land; yes, even in the desert. OK, enough shmalz about Israel.

“In the shadow of the gallows” While reading over the weekend paper I came across an article that definitely needs to be shared with all. In 1947 the British Mandate authority had condemned two Jewish underground members, Meir Feinstein and Meir Barazani ‚  to hang. ‚  Before being led to the gallows they called over their guard, Thomas Henry Goodwin, and gave him a book “The Bible in Pictures”. They had written a dedication in English and in Hebrew; “In the shadow of the gallows, April 21, 1947, to the British soldier as you stand guard, before we go to the gallows, accept this Bible as a memento and remember that we stood in dignity and marched in dignity. It is better to die with a weapon in hand than to live with hands raised” Meir Feinstein. They then asked the guard to move aside in the corridor because they wanted a few moments to pray alone. Actually, a hand grenade was smuggled in to them and they had planned on taking their own lives but didn’t want the guard to be hurt.Today, 60 years latter, ‚  the Bible is to be returned. Mr. Goodwin’s wish was that if he should die before his wife, the Bible was to be returned. Mr. Goodwin died in 2005. ‚  The son will be presenting it to the nephew of Meir Feinstein, Eliezer Feinstein and will be put on display at the “Underground Prisoner’s ‚  Museum” in Jerusalem.

US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice is back in town. Again she met with Palestinian Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. Although the Hamas-dominated government still does not recognize Israel’s right to exist Condi still feels that contact with the moderate Abbas is OK. A letter drawn up and signed by no less than 79 of the 100 US Senators states that US policy is not to have any direct contact with the present Palestinian government. We’ve heard some really weird phrases concerning peace talks around here; “Window of Opportunity” and “The ball is now in their court” This time Condi has come to Jerusalem showing a little “muscle”. The Secretary is talking on ‚  a two state solution, Palestinian rights, relinquishing occupied land…. occupied land? Rights? I think the US needs a little history lesson. The Jews aren’t the occupiers. They’ve been here nearly 4000 years. The Arabs are the late comers in this neighborhood. Rights? All through the book of Geneses it states God’s covenant of te land to the Jewish people unlike what the US claims of “Manifest Destiny” in the continental United States. The “God given right” to control all land from coast to coast? Who did God speak to exactly? All those poor refuges in Mexico…dreaming to return to their “occupied” homeland in California, New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada, Arizona, Texas….

Signing out – your man in Jerusalem


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