Israel and Middle East

Syria, November 19, 2015: The head of the Syrian Catholic Church, Mar Ignace Youssif III Youan, has said the West has betrayed Syrians and caused an endless conflict in the country.

Speaking to Le Messenger, an Egpytian Catholic magazine, Youan spoke passionately about the “chaos” that Western governments have caused by ignoring the advice of Syrians, assuming that Assad’s regime could be destroyed in a few months, and now having faith in airstrikes as the answer when ISIS has thoroughly infiltrated Iraq, Syria and beyond.

“We Christians are not able to live in this chaos,” the Syrian Patriarch said. “The West has betrayed us.”

The patriarch accused Western governments of wanting to “perpetuate the endless conflict in Syria” and of having “betrayed the Christians of the East. We explained from the beginning that our situation was different from that of other nations in the region, they were not listened to. And now we mourn deaths over the past five years. ”

He described the current situation in Syria as “dramatic, and all the Syrian people are living in pain” as they are trapped under the regime of ISIS and other terrorist groups “who use Islam as an excuse to ‘purify’ areas under their control in the name of religion, and Muslim scholars who tell us that Islam is alien to these facts.

“It’s a shame that the West has abandoned Christians to this situation,” he said.

The patriarch said that terrorist groups, with financing from Saudi Arabia and other countries in the area, have thoroughly infiltrated Iraq and Syria, and there are now terrorists moving into Europe posing as refugees.

ISIS “have already infiltrated in European populations. For years they have received money, weapons and religious indoctrination from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries, with the supervision of the West. To claim that the solution is to carry out air strikes [in Syria and Iraq] is a lie”, he said.

This is futile, he said, “because their supporters have infiltraded the population, they are financed and have access to weapons and religious indoctrination.”

- christian today


Today we are in Nazareth looking for Mary! We are visiting her home cave where the Angel Gabriel brought the announcement from heaven. We will also visit her cave where she lived 30 years with Joseph and Jesus.

These pictures are over a hundred years old from Nazareth. Not much changed between then and the first century.

When you look at these old pictures and hundreds more I have in a book I purchased in Nazareth (written in Arabic), you can imagine Mary as she walked the dusty streets of Nazareth.

Who is this father, mother and child? Can you “see” Mary at the well of Nazareth where all the women came to collect water? I’ve included modern pictures of the Church of Annunciation built over the cave-house where Gabriel made the announcement to Mary and the altar inside the cave which reads, “The Word Became Flesh HERE!”.

Beautiful Tissott painting of Mary of Nazareth


Our Lady of Nazareth

Words on the altar: "The Word Became Flesh HERE"




{ 1 comment }

Janet and I are at the Sea of Galilee awaiting our sold out bus of pilgrims arriving on Sunday. We have another sold out bus in December. Our pilgrimage to the Holy Land is almost sold out already for March 2016.

But many people are again afraid to come to the Land of Jesus and Mary – and for no good reason. It is safe here contrary to what you hear in the news. We’ve been here over 130 times and brought many thousands of people and I can tell you …

Pilgrims and tourists everywhere; the country is full! They are not allowing CNN to keep them away.

The hotels are FULL, the buses are FULL and the pilgrims are visiting and celebrating their Faith at the holy sites without any problem and in complete safety. Look at this picture of the dining room in just one hotel!

If one Jew gets stabbed in the Palestinian areas it makes headlines in the US for days. Forty people a week are killed in Chicago, in DC, in Detroit, in LA and no one even hears about it and no one is afraid to fly into Chicago.

People ask me, “Aren’t you afraid to go to Israel?” I always answer, “No, I am afraid to go to Detroit!” I feel safer in Israel than in any major city in the United States. Many people who live here or who have visited will say the same thing.

Here is a short beauty movie I made while sitting on the shores of the Sea of Galilee today. Enjoy!


Who Has Right to Temple Mount? Why Fearful of Analyzing Muslim Story?

October 25, 2015

Since we have two sold-out pilgrimage groups still going Israel this year and six more next year, I thought this would be interesting for two reasons: 1) To inform folks that things are calming down and will be no problem for our 2015 pilgrims (it would have been no problem even as it was); and [...]

Read the full article →

Syrian Archbishop “Disturbed” By CIA Involvement in Conflict 

October 2, 2015

STEVE RAY HERE: After meeting with the Bishop of Jerusalem and talking to many people here in the Middle East I conclude that this bishop is absolutely correct. The United States is on the wrong side of this conflict and Russia is on the right side. President Asad has always protected the Christians and toppling [...]

Read the full article →

Jews as Proof of God’s Existence & Faithfulness

October 2, 2015

Winston Churchill wrote “Some people like the Jews, and some do not. But no thoughtful man can deny the fact that they are, beyond any question, the most formidable and the most remarkable race which has appeared in the world.“ He is absolutely right! I have often said they are remarkable people –gifted in a [...]

Read the full article →

Was Jesus Really Born at THAT Place in Bethlehem?

May 17, 2015

Today we are having Mass at Gethsemane on the western slope of the Mount of Olives. How do we know this is really Gethsemane? And yesterday we had Mass at Tomb of Christ in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Really? How do we know? Two days ago we venerated the place Jesus was born [...]

Read the full article →

Who Would Dare to Love ISIS? The People of the Cross, thats’ who

April 25, 2015

The first reaction is to hate ISIS but the People of the Cross, the Christians of the Middle East have sent them a “Letter” in the form of a beautiful video.

Read the full article →

History of Middle East in 90 Seconds

April 13, 2015

Fascinating moving map. Click the image below to see biblical and modern history of the volatile Middle East.

Read the full article →

Netanyahu’s Speech to Congress – Excellent!

March 3, 2015

I thought his speech was brilliant and I’m embarrassed that our president and so many of our leaders refused to attend. They’re acting like spoiled brats. Here you see a real world leader — I wish we had one. Here is the link to listen and watch if you missed it earlier today.

Read the full article →

Excellent and Artistic Photographs of Israel by Spirit Juice

March 3, 2015

Rob Kaczmark and his new wife Kimberly joined us in the Holy Land last September. They own Spirit Juice Studios which is a new and talented production company. While they were with us they took magnificent and artistic pictures along the way. Never have I seen such eye-popping images of the Holy Land. Enjoy! Join [...]

Read the full article →

3.3 million visitors to Israel in 2014: Statistics of Travel and Safety, Countries of Origin and Sites Visitied

January 5, 2015

Since we, and our thousands of pilgrims, travel to Israel many times a year, I thought these statistics were very interesting. Of all 3.3 million in 2014 not one was hurt or in danger. The media makes it sound like Israel is dangerous. The facts and statistics on the group prove they are wrong. We [...]

Read the full article →

Two Great Jewish Movies

January 3, 2015

Since we are in Jerusalem, I thought I would share two of our favorite Jewish movies. Recently watched “Everything is Illuminated” again. It is funny and profound about a young man (Elijah Wood – Frodo in “Lord of the Rings”) who discovers his Jewish past after Nazi fascists occupied Ukraine. It is one of my [...]

Read the full article →

“You are Peter” in Jesus’ language of Aramaic

December 30, 2014

Since we recently visited Caesarea Philippi, the site where Jesus renamed Simon as “Peter” or Kepha (Matt 16:13-20), I thought you would find this interesting. So, what did it sound like at Caesarea Philippi when Jesus renamed Simon and made him the rock of the Church: “And I tell you, you are Peter [rock], and [...]

Read the full article →

Womb 2 Tomb; Bethlehem 2 Jerusalem; Biking on Christmas thru the Holy Land

December 26, 2014

  We are in Israel with my daughter Charlotte, her husband Wesley and my wife Janet. We are picking up our bus full of people tomorrow at the Tel Aviv airport. We are looking forward to a wonderful pilgrimage through the land of Our Lord. We arrived a day before our group so my son-in-law [...]

Read the full article →

Jerusalem Over a Hundred Years Ago

December 26, 2014

Old Aerial Photos of Jerusalem Below: original pictures; Above: my notations The Old city sure has changed in since these photos were taken. Does anybody know what the date these were taken? They were shot early in aviation history. My guess is they are about 100 years old. Since we arrived in Jerusalem today awaiting [...]

Read the full article →