Today they pulled into Haifa, Israel. I'm not sure how long they will be there, but they will at least be there through New Year's. Much to their disappointment, though, the commodore has made that port visit completely dry on liberty - no alcohol! He is afraid of an incident happening and screwing up later visits by other ships so he has made the visit completely dry. Nothing like pulling into a place for new years and not even being able to have a beer. Needless to say, there are some unhappy campers! And not just on the ship. Apparently the embassy is really annoyed at the commodore for making the port dry because that hurts all the pubs who like the drinking sailors to bring in lots of money. If people are just going for dinner it cuts the pubs' and restaurants' profits by about 2/3 of what it would be with drinks. So the embassy says they will have to deal with it politically with various civic organizations. The Defense attaché reps said they were going to call 6th fleet and see if it won't get changed. If they could get the policy changed they would be heroes to the crew!
Tomorrow they'll be taking a tour to Jerusalem. Rob has been to Israel on a previous deployment, but he doesn't have any pictures or anything except a few postcards from that visit, so he's hoping to take lots of photographs and do a little shopping this time!