Today is September 3, 2013. The American media has been buzzing with news about a potential U.S. strike on Syria. Meanwhile here in Israel people are getting ready for the High Holy Days beginning with Rosh HaShanah, which means Head of the Year. It is the anniversary of the creation of Adam and Eve and their recognition of mankind’s role in God’s world. There are many parts to observing Rosh HaShanah, but the emphasis is on recognizing the special relationship between G-d and humanity and our dependence on the Creator and Sustainer of this world. To learn more on the High Holy Days click here.
I am in Northern Israel, spending time with my dear friend Jennifer and her family in Korazim. Much of our talks surround Syria and President Obama’s threat to attack Syria. This evening we sat outside sipping wine and barbecuing dinner. The peace that filled the cool evening air was amazing.
The mountain range looks like it is layered with jewels from the flickering lights from the homes there. One would not know that on the other side of that mountain range is Syria.
Some neighbors out for an evening walk stopped to say hello and I asked them how they felt about the potential U.S. attack on Syria. Their initial answer: “When the skies begin to light up we will call our friends in Tel Aviv and invite them up for for the light show.” Of course this was said slightly in jest. In seriousness, while most Israeli’s would prefer the U.S. stay out of Syria, they say now that Obama has opened his mouth and made a threat, he has to follow through. Why, because Arabs only understand strength. If President Obama does not follow through, our nation will be looked at as weak. Sadly, that is the case already. The concern is that this sign of weakness will only encourage Iran and a nuclear Iran is a threat to the whole world. This perceived weakness causes the Arab world to think “why should we believe a threat from the U.S.?”
Today, President Obama is going to need a strategic plan if he gains approval for an attack on Syria. It is clear that he does not understand the Middle East mindset and I am not sure he truly understands the ongoing civil battle between Assad and the Syrian Rebels.
What are the potential consequences from an attack? Terror attacks by cell groups within the United States, continued civil unrest in Syria, and trouble on the borders of Israel are just a few potential consequences.
In my own personal opinion this is a very difficult and delicate situation. Understanding the players is important; Assad/Iran/Hezbollah on one side and the Syrian rebels/al Qaeda/Muslim Brotherhood on the other. I agree with my friends in Israel; sometimes it is better to keep ones mouth closed. Unfortunately President Obama did not. It would have been more effective to support organizations who are providing humanitarian aid to the innocent Syrians and let Syria take care of its own problems.
No matter what the decision, here in Israel no one is worrying about this. Life continues and peace fills the air. I look forward to spending more time with my dear friends here in Korazim and sitting out under the stars, marveling at the wonders of the Creator of this Universe.