Yesterday our Prime Minister Natanyahu met with the Egyptian President Mubarak at Sharm-a-Sheich and the two discussed the peace process. naturally they did not agree on all subjects. Natanyahu said Israel wanted real peace, but needed confirmation that the Palestinians, who unfortunately are under Hamas rule, did not believe in the destruction of Israel. He also said that economic, educational and other conditions should be fulfulled as a beginning. Evidently in another two eeks or so, discussions on this subject will take place with the Arabs. But before that, Prime Minister Natanyahu will be meeting with President Obama in Washington, and we hope that pressure will not be applied on us to give in to all Arab demands.   And another visit, this time to Israel, took place yesterday, when in the morning the Pope arrived here, after spending a day in Jordan and meeting the king there, as well as others.

Among the different places the Pope visited so far in Israel, was “Yad Va’Shem” our Holocaust Memorial Museum, where he layed a wreath and also gave a speech, but the latter was rather disappointing. He gave what can be considered a historical description of the holocaust. Rabbi Lau, a holocaust survivor, who is a manager of the museum and was once Chief Rabbi of Israel said,” Something was missing from his speech. There was no mention of the Germans or the Nazis who participated in the butchery, nor a word of regret. If not an apology, then a word of remorse.”
A third of the Jewish people of the world were murdered, and he only used the words “lost their lives”, never refered to those who caused it by name. He also never mentioned how a previous Pope and Vatican had acted concerning the Jews during the period of World War II – and that was not exactly a “pleasant” way.
In the evening the Pope met with another group of people, amongst them many Arabs, and there the leading Palestinian cleric Sheich Tayseer Tamini gave an impromptu speech against Israel and called for Christians and Muslims to unite against against Israel. The Pope left before the end, but shook his hand before leaving.It seems strange that no mention was made of the fact that in 1948, when the State of Israel was established, the Christian community of Jerusalem, the Arab part which was then captured by the Jordanian legions, numbered some 31,000, or 20% of the population. Today they account for 2%, because so many have fled abroad because of Muslim behaviour. And those remaining few also include monks and clergymen from abroad.
Another subject I will briefly mention, is our government’s difficulty with the economic situation and passing the finance bill for the year. The Minister of Finance backed by Natanyahu wanted to make many changes in taxes, which evidently hurt the poorer population, and hardly affected the richer. Now some changes are being made, not clear yet what all will be – but hopefully they’ll fill the treasury’s coffer without hurting too many.

Shalom from Irene


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