The Jerusalem Post
Not only Jews, but blue bloods also move from the realm of mourning and sorrow to that of joy. The British Royal Family, which on Saturday, April 17, will attend the funeral of Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, will almost, but not quite mark the end of an era, and it will be a very sad occasion, especially for Queen Elizabeth, for whom Prince Philip was her rock and confidant for more than seven decades. But then next week, on April 21, to be precise, the royals will have cause to smile as Queen Elizabeth celebrates her 95th birthday. Also, the fact that Prince Harry is back home, albeit temporarily, is probably the best birthday present that the queen could have. For all that, it’s easy to see why she’s so fond of Prince William who bears such a striking resemblance to his grandfather at the same age, that each time she sees him, she is probably reminded of another happy memory of her youth.
The date of the queen’s official birthday varies from one Commonwealth country to another and is usually somewhere between mid-May and mid-June. In the UK this year, it will be on Saturday, June 12.
■ PRIOR TO the official ceremonies Remembrance Day for the Fallen of Israel’s Wars and Victims of Terrorism, President Reuven Rivlin met with bereaved families and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with IDF orphans under the auspices of the IDF Widows and Orphans organization.
The bereaved families were accompanied to the President’s Residence by Chairman of Yad Labanim Eli Ben Shem, Yad Labanim’s director of families and commemoration Aryeh Mualem, and chairman of the IDF Widows and Orphans Organization Tami Shelach. The president listened to the stories of Meital Itkis who lost two brothers; Maya Moreno, who lost her husband; Shakib Sha’anan, a former MK who lost his son; and Noa Karsenty, who lost her brother.
“The way you live your lives teaches a great lesson in courage, in the meaning of life and the meaning that death, as painful and tormenting as it is,” Rivlin told them.
Shelach also accompanied the IDF orphans to their meeting with the Netanyahus at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem.
The prime minister and his wife were very moved after hearing the individual stories of Shilo Butbul, 17, son of the late Sgt. Mordechai Butbul; Neriah Moreno, 17, son of the late Col. Emmanuel Moreno; Asul Nasr E-Din, 16, daughter of the late Sgt. Lutfy Nasr E-Din; Rotem Sharir, 26, daughter of the late Lt. Col. Yuval Sharir; Lehi Greenberg, 22, daughter of the late Col. Amotz Greenberg, who was killed in Operation Protective Edge; Yosiel Kahlon, 23, son of Warrant Officer Rami Kahlon, who was killed in Operation Protective Edge; Stav Harriri, 26, son of the late Col. Dov Harriri; Noam Almaliah, 23, son of the late Sgt. Moshe Almaliah, who was killed in fighting along the Philadelphi route; and Yasam Shibl, 27, son of the late Sgt. Ibrahim Shibl.
“When this happens to someone, I call it the ripping out of an organ,” said the prime minister who lost his elder brother Yoni, who was the commander of the Entebbe Rescue Operation in July, 1976. “It is like they have cut your hand or foot off, or taken out an organ. Therefore, the big question is how does one live after this?
“Beyond all the things that we are doing outside, the true commemoration is in your hearts: What you know, what you have locked up, what you have gathered and received from the family or from your memory is the existence that exists with you forever in the heart,” he said. “I tell you it will live in your heart until your last day and not leave. It does not need to leave; on the contrary, your fathers live within you. From what you knew or from what you learned afterward from your mothers, aunts and uncles, and the family. Your fathers live within you. I can tell you, my brother Yoni lives within me every day. I talk to him about many things. This is the strongest commemoration that can be and it gives you strength. Your fathers live within each one of you.”
Sara Netanyahu added: “The most important thing is to continue your fathers’ memories and also to continue to live, also because they will be happy up above. I am certain that your fathers see you, are proud and are watching over you. They are happy when you are happy.”
■ IN THE few interviews that he has given since his arrival in Israel just over four months ago, more than three decades after his arrest for passing classified American information to Israel, Jonathan Pollard has said that he wants the quiet life. Indeed, inasmuch as possible, he has been keeping out of the limelight, but when someone like him goes to Hebron, celebrates Mimouna for the first time in his life, and takes a Torah scroll to Joseph’s Tomb, he can’t expect the media to turn a blind eye.
Accompanied by his wife Esther and Samaria Regional Council Chairman Yossi Dagan, Pollard went to Nablus on Monday night and brought a Torah scroll to Joseph’s Tomb. It wasn’t a Torah scroll that had been given to him by someone else. It was one that Pollard had commissioned and paid for twelve years previously, while still incarcerated. From the very beginning, he planned to have it brought to Joseph’s Tomb but was not sure at the time, that he would be the person bringing it.
In addition to Dagan and Esther Pollard, the inauguration ceremony of the Torah scroll was attended by Chief Rabbi of Safed Shmuel Eliyahu; Rabbi Elyakim Levanon, the chief rabbi of the Samaria Regional Council; Davidi Ben Zion, the deputy chairman of the Samaria Regional Council along with several people who over the years had actively lobbied for Pollard’s release.
Pollard said that he felt a very strong connection with Joseph and everything that he was forced to endure. When he commissioned the Torah scroll, he did not know if he would ever get out of prison, so he thought that if he did not make it physically, he could at least reach Israel mentally and spiritually. Now he was inaugurating the Torah scroll mentally, spiritually and physically.
Dagan drew a parallel between Joseph being taken out of the pit, and Pollard being released from jail and finally realizing his life’s dream to live in Israel.
■ WHEN HE was born in Jerusalem a year ago, Mikhael Klein did not have the usual ceremony reserved for Jewish baby boys. Yes, he was circumcised, but there were hardly any people present – barely a handful in fact. At eight days of age, coupled with a certain soreness, he wouldn’t have been able to appreciate a party anyway. But now at the age of one year old, he’s alert and curious about everything and loves music – so his mother Nava Klein decided to hold a champagne tea at the King David Hotel for some 50 guests. But it was more than just a birthday party. It was a family reunion. Mikhael’s grandmother Sara Klein had not had all her children and grandchildren in one place for more than a year. Mikhael’s uncle Ishai Klein, who is an international businessman working mostly in Asia, was at the circumcision, but afterward was stuck in Singapore for four months, not such a terrible ordeal as he used to live there for several years, but tough on his wife and four children in Jerusalem. When Miklhael was born, his other uncle Gideon Klein and his family were living in the US, where they had spent a few years, but when they returned to Israel in time for the High Holy Days, they moved to Ra’anana, and then had to contend with lockdown. Now, all three Klein siblings are in Israel with two living in Jerusalem within easy walking distance of their mother, and all of them, together with their own families, were at Mikhael’s birthday party, where the fare included mixed fruits, dainty no-crust sandwiches, mini lemon tarts plus other pastries, and Australian-style scones to suit those guests who were originally from the far-flung island continent, as are the Kleins. Australian scones are sweet and can be eaten on their own, as well as with jam and cream.
The ones at the King David were delicious. British scones tend to be fairly bland and
desperately need the jam and cream to give them flavor.
Guests came from many parts of Israel and sat at round tables on an outdoor groundfloor terrace. Nearly everyone present was an immigrant, originating from Turkey, Singapore, the US, England, Gibraltar, Australia and more. Reuven Ben-Hanan, the superb violinist with the amazing multicultural and multi-genre repertoire, who played nonstop for more than three hours as he moved from table to table serenading the guests, is originally from Russia.
Mikhael, who was obviously the center of attention, was extremely well behaved and had a really good time.
■ A COMMON catchphrase used to be ‘Go West young man,’ but now, at least as far as well-known Israelis are concerned, it’s Go South – both literally and figuratively. Past and present politicians, writers, political commentators
and army brass are invited to participate in Zoom or video programs, or occasionally in person in Australia. Usually, the in-person participants go to at least two Australian states and speak to audiences in Sydney and Melbourne. Some visit five of Australia’s six states, and even get to Australian Capital Territory, where the capital Canberra is located, as a bonus, but it’s rare for them to go to Tasmania.
Most active in bringing Israelis to the table one way or another is the Zionist Federation of Australia, which is doing so again this coming Sunday, April 18. The Jerusalem Post columnist Gil Troy has already written about the book Never Alone that he coauthored with Natan Sharansky. Now the two of them are going to talk about it, and other subjects, but mainly about prison, politics and the Jewish People.. Their conversation will be broadcast at 1 p.m. Israel time, but registration at www.zfa.com. au/conversations is essential.