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December 13, 2021


Having traveled and worked in the Middle East since l968, Robert L. Wise has journeyed through the region, giving him insights from behind the scenes. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon. Each week he attempts to present an objective view of current events.


Usually, the reports from the Middle East are ominous. Fears of war, terrorism and strife make the headlines. In the midst of the bad news, December brings good news. It’s the season of lights! Celebrate!

So, I thought this blog would pick up on some positive signs happening right now. Here’s a couple for you.

Putting old animosities behind them, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid on Thursday presented his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry with dozens of Egyptian relics that were illegally smuggled into Israel. Lapid met Shoukry in Cairo after first holding talks with President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi.

Eli Eskozido, Director of the Israel Antiquities Authority, joined Lapid to hand over the 95 artifacts, which included two stone tablets with hieroglyphic writing, a piece of a sarcophagus with hieroglyphics, papyrus documents and dozens of small idols of Egyptian gods.

This is, indeed, a celebratory time of year. The Jewish majority in this country has had its Festival of Lights, while Christians are currently gearing up for Christmas. All of which makes it an opportune calendar slot to address musical material of a religious nature.

That is precisely what will be going on in Nazareth between December 16-18, when the third edition of the annual Liturgical Music Festival takes place. The event is being touted as “a weekend of musical peaks” and the programming, courtesy of Nabil Abboud Ashkar, the founder artistic director of Polyphony Foundation Conservatory.  

Liturgical music comes in all shapes and forms. Like any genre, in any discipline the world over, the creative end product takes on local colors, seasoning and the personal baggage of the human conduit of expression. In Nabeel Hayek’s case that presents a multihued tapestry of sounds and dynamics which, no doubt, will come across on December 17 (11:30 a.m.), when the 20-year-old pianist plays the instrumental accompaniment to soprano Nour Darwish at the 19th-century Anglican Church in Nazareth, in an intimate program of Baroque and Romantic works. The repertoire for the occasion is as about variegated as you can get within the varied stratified confines of classical Christian liturgical scores.

And anyone looking to make a day or two of it can also get into the Yuletide spirit by joining guided tours of the Christmassy locale, and enjoy some seasonally priced accommodation offers.

Yes, there are good things happening in the Middle East. Let’s hope the light stays on all through the approaching year.

I have a new book coming out.

MAN ON FIRE can be ordered on Amazon or at your local book store. 

I hope you’ll avail yourself of this inspiring story!

Also these fine books are available now:

I Marched with Patton: A Firsthand Account of World War II

Alongside One of the U.S. Army’s Greatest Generals!

by Frank Sisson (Author), Robert L. Wise (Author)

You can find I MARCHED WITH PATTON on Amazon.

82 Days on Okinawa: One American’s Unforgettable

Firsthand Account of the Pacific War’s Greatest Battle!

You can find 82 DAYS ON OKINAWA on Amazon.

by Art Shaw (Author), Robert L. Wise (Author)

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Filed under America, Bible Lands, Christians, Faith, Forgivness

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