With the Rosh Hashana (Jewish New Year) holiday coming up in just a few days, Israelis will be attending synagogue services, visiting family, and generally taking it easy during a rare three day break from work - the 2-day festival will this year be followed immediately by Shabbat (Sabbath).
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has insisted the the country would take steps to ensure that the holiday is a calm one, despite the growing prospect of western military intervention is Syria.
With the decision by U.S. President Barack H. Obama to ask Congress to approve military action against Syria, the prospect of immediate American action seems to be postponed until at least next week. Last week, Israel had ordered a call-up of reserve troops in anticipation of a possible Syrian strike at Israel, promised by Bashar al-Assad's government if Syria was attacked by the U.S. But the IDF released many of those soldiers over the weekend, because of the somewhat reduced threat.
But the IDF remains on high alert, and Israel is not taking any chances, said Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Speaking at a ceremony in northern Israel inaugurating a new major intersection, Netanyahu said that Israel had “major challenges in light of the events in our region, both close and farther away. As they shoot at each other, we continue to build,” the Prime Minister said, praising the Transportation Ministry for its efforts in building a cloverleaf intersection at the Golani Junction, long a major choke on traffic for drivers headed to the Galilee.
Unlike Israel's neighbors, Netanyahu said, “Israel is an island of calmness. We trust the IDF and our own ability to defend ourselves. I will not allow anyone to hurt our country and violate that calmness. I ask you to enjoy yourselves over the holiday.
“If anyone thinks they are going to ruin the peace and quiet of Rosh Hashana in Israel, they had better realize what response awaits them,” Netanyahu added.