I have already mentioned Professor Ada Yonath who received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry before in a previous blog, but a few days ago she actually received the prize in Stockholm  in a festive ceremony attended by the Swedish royal family. Yonath  received the golden Nobel medal from the hands of King Carl XVI Gustaf himself, to the sounds of a trumpet and thunderous applause. Yonath, born in Jerusalem 1939, is the first Israeli woman to win the prize.

We are all very proud of her in Israel, and I especially so, not only for her academic achievements, but also for her great sene of humour. In an interview with an Israeli reporter she described how she had been taught how to behave at the ceremony – how to bow, to whom to bow and things like that, and she had us all laughing.
 
I live in Haifa which I believe to be one of the most beautiful towns here, leading from the woods of Mount Carmel, down the slopes to the sea. But I don’t want to write about Haifa’s beauty today, but about the “festival month” which takes place here every year. Haifa has a very mixed population, Christians, Muslims and Jews, who usually live together in great harmony. In the month of December all these three religions celebrate different festivals. The Muslims have “Idel Adcha” (maybe a spelling mistake here), the Christians celebrate Christmas and the Jews have Hanukah.
 
During the month of December, the municipality of Haifa always arranges a sort of carnival for all these three festivals together, and in a part of town, mainly in Wadi Nisnas, which is decorated, there are open-air performances, markets, concerts and what not. The streets are full with people of all religions celebrating and it’s a great come-together for all.
 
Yesterday we heard on Israel Radio  that our former Minister of Foreign Affairs and Prime Minister Tzipi Livni, who is now a member of the parliamentary opposition, had a warrant issued for her arrest by the Westminster Magistrate’s Court in England, for her part in ”alleged war crimes???” during the ”Gaza” war  (operation Cast Lead) a year ago. Livni had been invited a month ago to address the Jewish National Fund UK’s annual conference in London, but two weeks ago, she turned down the invitation because Prime Minister Brown whom she wanted to meet, would be abroad at the time. The judge cancelled the warrant when he was informed that Livni was not in the country. Although the warrant was annulled, pro-Palestinian groups in Britain expressed satisfaction at what they termed a “long overdue” move against Israeli leadership. But the question is a moral one. Since when can a foreign country arrest politicians for alleged crimes which were performed elsewhere? And if this is legal, why is it that only Israelis get such treatment, and real terrorists, political leaders responsible for the murder of millions and such, never get the same treatment?
 
With these words I close today. Shalom from Irene 

 

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