U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, D-St. Petersburg, is in Israel this week as part of a trip paid for by the American Israel Education Foundation, which is an arm of the lobbying group American Israel Public Affairs Committee. One of the group's major funders is Sheldon Adelson.
On Thursday, Crist visited the Western Wall in Jerusalem and took part in a practice of the faithful by putting a prayer in the crevice of the wall. He posted it on Instagram and the note reads: "Dear God, Please protect Florida from storms and other difficulties. Many thanks for your blessings. Faithfully, Charlie."
Crist left a similar note in the wall on a trip to Israel shortly after he became Florida governor in 2007. It read: "Dear God, please protect our Florida from storms and other difficulties. Charlie." No hurricanes made landfall in Florida that year.
Over the next nine years, Crist had a prayer note delivered to the Western Wall before each hurricane season. And for those nine years, hurricanes stayed away from Florida.
In June 2016, the Tampa Bay Times wrote about how Crist was having trouble getting a note in the wall and musing over whether that would affect the state's fate during hurricane season.
Knock on wood, good thing Crist made it to the wall this year. That surprise Tropical Storm Emily was Monday, so before his prayer was made.
Update: This blog post has been updated to note the second hurricane that hit Florida in 2016.