Saturday, August 31, 2013

After Obama’s announcement on Saturday night it appears that all is quiet on the Eastern front.

 According to the news Obama is deferring to Congress which will not reconvene until September 9, which is when our pilgrims on this trip will return to the United States. 

 My guess is by September 9 it will be old news (you know Americans and their memory) and a warning will be given to Syria and it will be left at that. But even if they do send bombs over to Syria the last thing Syria wants is start a war with Israel, which is the most powerful nation in the whole Middle East.

 Anyway, this is good news for our pilgrims who now have less apprehension as they arrive in Tel Aviv and embark on this marvelous pilgrimage.

It is also good news for red-faced Obama who will now have less trouble facing Sweden, Russia and the G-20 next week even though he will appear foolish in any case.

 Once again Janet and I are glad to be in the Holy Land full of pilgrims and tourists enjoying the most holy place on planet Earth. 

 Signing off to go to sleep, while listening to German pilgrims singing joyful songs on the shore of Galilee,

 Steve & Janet Ray

20130831-223253.jpgWASHINGTON (AP) – Delaying what had appeared to be an imminent strike, President Barack Obama abruptly announced Saturday he will seek congressional approval before launching any military action meant to punish Syria for its alleged use of chemical weapons in an attack that killed hundreds.

With Navy ships in the Mediterranean Sea ready to strike, Obama said he had decided the United States should take military action, but also determined “our country will be better off” if Congress renders its own opinion.

At the same time, he challenged lawmakers to consider “what message will we send to a dictator” if he is allowed to killed hundreds of children with chemical weapons without suffering any retaliation.

Lawmakers will return to session on Sept. 9.

Also read the excellent JERUSALEM POST article. 


Janet and I are currently in Tiberias on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. There’s not much talk here about the problems in Syria because everybody’s out doing what they do on the Sabbath. It is an issue for us of course, because we have 91 pilgrims arriving on Sunday.

However, we are very confident that everything is going to go smoothly and there is no danger. The article below is in today’s Jerusalem Post and explains one of the reasons why I am confident in continuing on with our pilgrimage and not being concerned about a very unlikely attack from Syria even if the US sends missiles into Syria.

In the meantime everything here in Israel is normal. Nothing is changed: people are out swimming, jogging in the streets, and enjoying the day off like they do every other Sabbath. Today I ride my bike and swim, read and write. Later we’ll go to Mass.

There is much more news about this in the United States than there is here. In Israel they don’t sensationalize the news like they do in United States, repeating it over and over again to fill time.

So we are enjoying the day waiting for our group to arrive; the buses are ready and we’re anxious to show them all the beautiful land of our Lord and our Lady.


As the US reportedly prepares to launch an attack on Syria, PM Binyamin Netanyahu urges Israelis to go about their everyday lives as per usual; security cabinet approves limited call-up of IDF reservists.

Even as Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Tuesday called on Israelis to carry on with their daily routines in light of a possible US strike on Syria, the security cabinet approved a limited call-up of reservists in vital military capacities….

In addition, the sources said that the government approved the deployment of advanced anti-missile batteries in the north….

The information presented at the meeting indicated a “low probability” that Syrian President Bashar Assad would respond to US military action by striking Israel. Nevertheless, the sources said, Israel was preparing for any eventuality, which explained the limited reserve call-ups.

Following the security cabinet meeting, the second urgent security consultation in as many days, Netanyahu issued a statement Wednesday saying Israelis need not alter their daily routine.

“The IDF is ready to defend against any threat and prepared to respond severely agaisnt any attempt to harm Israeli citizens,” he said.

One of the reasons for the “low probability” assessments of a Syrian response against Israel is the assessments in Jerusalem that Syrian President Bashar Assad is cognizant of messages Israel has sent indicating that an attack on Israel would ignite a counter-attack that would bring his regime down…