Our president, Shimon Peres, is now visiting the United States. He has a full agenda. Yesterday he addressed the American Israel Public Affairs committee at their annual conference, and later met Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Chairman of the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee, John Kerry. He is of course, in a manner, preparing for our Prime Minister’s coming visit to President Obama.

Prime Minister Nataniyahu who is also also coming for a visit in another week, has lately said that he agreed to a two-state solution, but he must have a partner for that amongst the Arabs, one who does not deny the right of Israel to exist. He believes that the Israel-Palestine problems should not be tied to the Iranian nuclear bomb one.

Today Shimon Peres will also meet President Obama , also Vice-President Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the US House. I hope the two Presidents will have a good meeting.

And talking of visits. we will also have an important visitor in Israel. The Pope will be coming here on May 11th and staying till the 15th. Naturally Jerusalem, Nazareth and Bethlehem will be among the places he will visit. I heard that many security forces will look after him everywhere – we certainly don’t want anything bad to happen to him.

Concerning the Swine Flu, we are told that now only one patient is still hospitalised, so hopefully that will be the end of this disease here. Evidently in other countries there are now also fewer cases.

In my last blog I mentioned that working mothers would pay less income tax if they paid for caretakers or nursery school for their young children, but now it seems that it won’t help most of them so much financially. There are so many women working for a minimum wage that they don’t even pay income tax, it is only those with a high salary who will gain anything.

Yesterday we watered the garden around my block of flats for the first time since last October, when we were forbidden to do so during the winter months due to the water shortage. Luckily there was enough rain during this period to keep everything more or less green, although again it is considered a drought year. Now for the coming months we are allowed to water gardens twice a week for maximum half an hour, but only after 5.00 in the afternoon when the greatest heat of the day has passed. That’s it for today.

Shalom from Irene


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