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Exclusive: My conversations with senior Arab officials here in Washington regarding “annexation,” just hours before President Trump is set to make a “big announcement” on the Middle East.

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(Washington, D.C.) — The White House is signaling that President Trump is set to make a “big announcement” today regarding the Middle East. 

The big question: Will Mr. Trump decide to back the Israeli government’s desire to incorporate large sections of the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) into sovereign Israeli territory, or ask Israel to refrain from “annexing” such territory for the time being, in order to keep trying to advance the Arab-Israeli peace process?

Last week, I met in Jerusalem with senior advisors to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, and separately with a senior advisor to Defense Minister Benny Gantz to better understand their positions. I also spoke with Palestinian Muslims and Christians to hear their views. With each of them, we discussed at length how American Evangelicals are likely to see the issue (for more on that, here is the column I wrote last week for The Jerusalem Post.)

Since arriving in Washington several days ago, I have had extensive meetings with Ambassadors and senior diplomats from Jordan, Egypt, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Azerbaijan to hear their views and discuss the wide range of viewpoints in the American Evangelical community over how best to advance peace. 

This what I’m hearing:

  • The Arab leaders believe the Trump administration is preparing to give the green light to “limited annexation” — not the full 30% of the West Bank as Netanyahu wants, and not the Jordan Valley, but perhaps about 5% of the West Bank. (They cautioned me, however, that they are still not entirely sure of the President’s final decision, that things are fluid, that Mr. Trump may not be 100% settled on his course of action, and their governments still hope to persuade Mr. Trump that for the sake of peace this is the wrong move at the wrong time.)
  • Every senior Arab and Muslim official that I spoke with are unified in total opposition to Israeli annexation of any amount — they do not see “limited annexation” as an acceptable compromise — they are very unified, operating in close coordination with each other, and fully backing Jordan’s King Abdullah. No daylight. 
  • One told me that Israel’s pending move would be “catastrophic” for the steadily warming relations between Israel and the Gulf Arab states which has never been better in history, and keep getting better month by month. “This will set Arab-Israeli relations back by years.”
  • None of the Arab officials can comprehend the urgency — why is Israel doing this now? Why this summer? Why would Netanyahu, the architect of Israel’s successful regional strategy to build closer relations with the Arab states, choose to damage these relations so badly? Does he realize just how much damage this will do, or does he think this will all blow over like the Jerusalem decision? They were admant that this is very different than the Jerusalem Embassy move. That was an American decision. This is a provocative, unilateral Israeli move that will force the Arab states to publicly and strongly condemn Israel and force them to back away from closer ties with Israel.
  • Another Arab official told me, “This is going to give a win not to the Arab states who have made peace with Israel, or those who are steadily moving towards peace with Israel. It’s going to give a win to Iran, Turkey, Qatar, the Muslim Brotherhood, Al Jazeera, and all the forces of extremism in the region. What’s the point? Why give them the win?”
  • All are particularly worried about an explosion in the Kingdom of Jordan — that the streets will erupt in intense protests against Israel, that the King will need to take dramatic measures to pull back from close working relations with Israel. I didn’t press any of them regarding exactly what steps Jordan may take, but many options are on the table and being actively contemplated.
  • What struck me as particularly interesting was that the tone of the leaders I spoke to was not so much bitter anger at Netanyahu and the Israeli government but astonishment, bewilderment and serious frustration that after so much progress in recent years that Israel would be willing to throw that all away for land that Israel already effectively controls and that no one is threatening to take away.
  • There is also bewilderment at why Israel would make such a highly controversial move — and risk incurring condemnation from the European Union, Asian countries, the Arab world, etc — before knowing whether or not President Trump will be reelected and there to stand beside Israel in such a decision over the next four years. Vice President Biden and his team has already made it clear that they are strongly opposed to Israeli “annexation.” Most Democrats in Congress are opposed as well. This will severely damage bipartisan support for Israel in Congress. What if the White House, the House of Representatives and possibly the majority of the Senate is in Democrat hands come January?

Now would be a good time to be praying for the peace of Jerusalem and the region, and praying that Israeli and American leaders will have true wisdom at this critical moment. Please pray for the Palestinian people who are feeling increasingly hopeless and left out of the process and seeing the U.S. and Israel make decisions without them. And pray, too, for the leaders and peoples of the moderate Arab states who are increasingly in favor of peace with Israel and see extraordinary opportunity for enhanced prosperity for all sides if treaties can be signed and trade relationships opened. 

Strange times in the Epicenter these days.

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Announcing my next novel: “The Beirut Protocol.” Here are all the details — an exclusive from The Real Book Spy website.

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(Jerusalem, Israel) — This week, the leading website covering thrillers and spy novels broke the story on the title, cover and release date for my next novel.

EXCLUSIVE: SEE THE COVER ART FOR JOEL C. ROSENBERG’S NEXT THRILLER (with details) by Ryan Steck, “The Real Book Spy” website

On March 9, 2021, Marcus Ryker returns to action in The Beirut Protocol, the latest headline-beating thriller from New York Times bestselling author Joel C. Rosenberg.

Following the events of The Jerusalem Assassin, which came out earlier this year, Ryker—a special agent working with the CIA—will face his toughest mission yet: staying alive behind enemy lines.

Ambushed on foreign soil, Ryker and his team suddenly find themselves captured and surrounded by danger. Worse yet, should the terrorists who captured him learn his true identity, all bets are off—and he knows they’ll make an example out of him by executing him live on the internet for all to see . . .

Breaking his previous trend of writing trilogies, something Rosenberg first confirmed during our wide-ranging interview back in March, The Beirut Protocol marks the fourth book (After The Kremlin Conspiracy, the Persian Gamble, and The Jerusalem Assassin) in his popular new franchise. Only Jon Bennett, who served as the protagonist of The Last Jihad series (five books) will have had more screen time than Ryker, whose background and skillset better resembles the traditional thriller mold that we’ve seen from other current literary stars such as Mitch Rapp (Vince Flynn) and Gabriel Allon (Daniel Silva).

Though he wasn’t sure how long Ryker might hang around, Rosenberg did say in March, “I think Marcus Ryker is my favorite character,” and there’s no doubt that fans feel the same way. Marcus has quickly become one of the genre’s premier heroes, and when you combine his physicality with Rosenberg’s uncanny ability to constantly predict future events and beat headlines, it’s easy to see why The Beirut Protocol becomes the first must-read thriller hitting bookstores next spring.

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Will American Evangelicals support immediate Israeli annexation? Well, it’s complicated, as I explain in my latest column for The Jerusalem Post.

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(Jerusalem, Israel) — Please don’t stop praying for the peace of Jerusalem and the rest of the Epicenter. Day by day, things are getting more and more interesting.

Here are the first few paragraphs from my new column today in The Jerusalem Post. To read the full column, please click here. Hope you find it helpful in navigating the most controversial and contentious issue we’re dealing with here right now.

WILL AMERICAN EVANGELICALS SUPPORT IMMEDIATE ANNEXATION?

By Joel C. Rosenberg

Will American Evangelicals support Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu if he decides to immediately and unilaterally annex – or apply Israeli sovereignty over – some 30 percent of the land commonly known as the “West Bank,” and referred to in the Bible as “Judea and Samaria,” as early as next month?

It is an interesting question, and one that I find myself being asked again and again in recent weeks by Israeli officials, Arab leaders, Mideast analysts and reporters here in Israel.

However, most Evangelicals in the U.S. have not even heard of the “annexation debate.” In the last two months, I have not received a single email, text or phone call from an American Evangelical about this. Not even from leaders. Some probably are keeping an eye on the discussion, but the vast, vast majority are not. Why? Because they are, rightly, concentrating on far more pressing domestic matters – COVID-19, lockdowns, massive unemployment, how to reopen society and reboot the economy, when to re-open their churches, how to deal with the horror of the George Floyd murder, and how to reform the criminal justice system while reestablishing law and order in American cities beset by riots and looting.

That said, for those here in Israel and the Arab world who are understandably interested in how Evangelicals may react, let me break the issue down into a series of questions and offer my best assessment of each. Such assessments are based on extensive polling of Evangelicals that I have commissioned in recent years, as well as conversations with thousands of pastors, ministry leaders and rank-and-file members….

[To read the rest of the column, please click here.]

Note: These are my own personal views, offered in my private capacity as a dual U.S.-Israeli citizen, not as the founder and Chairman of The Joshua Fund, which is a non-profit organization that takes no positions on political or legislative issues.

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United Arab Emirates warns Israelis directly that annexation could destroy normalization efforts with Gulf Arab states. Senior official writes first-ever op-ed in Hebrew published in Israeli paper and records a video in English. How will Netanyahu and Gantz respond?

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(Jerusalem, Israel) — This is the huge story here in Israel today.

It confirms what I reported in my column in The Jerusalem Post last week, that if Israel moves forward with plans to annex large swaths of the West Bank this summer this will severely damage and possibly destroy the rapidly warming ties between Israel and the Gulf States.

The big question now is: How will Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz respond?

Here is the short video of the UAE Ambassador speaking in English to Israelis.

Here is the English version of the op-ed that was published in Hebrew by Yediot Aharonot, that everyone is talking about today. I encourage you to read it in full.

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Here are just two of the front-page news stories in Israel covering these developments:

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The big story in Israel: Netanyahu wants to annex parts of the West Bank in July. Will this help or hurt Trump? As I told a reporter, pro-Israel Evangelicals in the U.S. aren’t even paying attention. Here are excerpts from the interview.

annexation-Netanyahu-map(Jerusalem, Israel) — Israel is successfully managing the COVID-19 crisis, and beginning to reopen the society and reboot our economy. But we may create a new crisis if we move forward with Prime Minister Netanyahu’s plan to annex large swaths of Judea and Samaria as early as next month.

This is a huge story here and reporters keep asking me how Evangelicals are reacting.

Here are excerpts from the interview I did with Amir Tibon, Washington correspondent for the Israeli daily, Haaretz:

  •  “Joel Rosenberg, an evangelical author and analyst who lives in Jerusalem, believes that annexation isn’t going to make much of a difference for most evangelical voters. ‘This is driven by Israeli politics, not American politics,’ he says. ‘Most evangelicals in America are focused right now exclusively on domestic issues: the COVID-19 crisis, the race tensions, unemployment and the fact that churches are not yet open. I don’t think most evangelicals have even heard about annexation.'”….
  • “Rosenberg has taken several groups of evangelical leaders to meet heads of Arab states in recent years, and tells Haaretz his contacts in the Arab world are struggling to understand the logic behind an Israeli annexation move at this time. ‘The relationship between Israel and the Arab world is as good as it’s ever been,’ he says, ‘and my contacts are asking me: why risk that right now? What’s the urgency?’”…..
  • “There are definitely evangelical leaders who will be happy about any opportunity to incorporate biblical lands into Israel. But I don’t agree with the analysis that Trump will benefit politically with the average evangelical voter by supporting annexation. If you believe Trump is pro-Israel, you’ve already been convinced by the embassy move and his pressure against Iran. Annexation isn’t going to change your view on this issue.”…..
  • “Rosenberg says he believes the main motivation behind the annexation push ‘has nothing to do with evangelicals,’ but instead is based on ‘fears [in Netanyahu’s sphere] that Trump won’t win a second term. But my question to people who make that argument is: If that’s what you’re predicting, how does Israel benefit from punching Joe Biden in the nose?” 

Note: I made these comments in my private capacity as a dual U.S.-Israeli citizen, not as the founder and Chairman of The Joshua Fund, which is a non-profit organization that takes no positions on political or legislative issues.

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Join Secretary of State Pompeo and me July 17 for a discussion of Mideast peace, annexation, the Gulf Arab States and the future of the Epicenter. Register now.

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(Jerusalem, Israel) — On Friday, July 17th, I look forward to joining U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in addressing The Family Leadership Summit in Des Moines, Iowa. I understand that more than 600 people have already registered and due to COVID-19 restrictions space is limited — so please register today before the event is sold out.

The Secretary and I will be discussing President Trump’s Mideast peace plan — widely known as the “Deal of the Century” — along with the Israeli government’s interest in annexing large swaths of the Judea and Samaria (a.k.a, the West Bank), and the prospects for historic peace deals between Israel and the Gulf Arab states, including Saudi Arabia.

You may recall that Secretary Pompeo and I were scheduled to do a joint appearance in Iowa in March as part of the launch of my new political thriller, The Jerusalem Assassin. Unfortunately, that event had to be canceled due to the COVID-19 crisis.

This is the rescheduled event. It has been expanded to include other a number of other speakers focusing a range of economic, social policy and religious freedom matters. They include Mike Lindell, the founder and CEO of MyPillow.com, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, Senator Joni Ernst, former Senator Rick Santorum and numerous others.

Hope to see you there.

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Israel’s momentous decision: While most Americans are rightly focused on coronavirus, soaring unemployment and race riots, Israel is about to make a fateful, risky decision about annexing part of the West Bank. Why? Here’s my new column for The Jerusalem Post.

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(Jerusalem Post) — It has been painful few weeks in the United States. Yet something dramatic and potentially very problematic is developing here in Israel.

First, the U.S.

  • More than 105,000 Americans have died from the coronavirus
  • Tens of millions of Americans are out of work
  • Businesses are poised to go bankrupt
  • An intense debate is underway over how fast to reopen society
  • Then comes the horrific, unconscionable murder of an African American man in Minneapolis named George Floyd by a group of police officers, a terrible injustice that rightly sparked outrage all over the country and the world.
  • One of the officers involved has been arrested and charged with murder — but all of them should be, even as investigations should take place at the local, state and national level (via the FBI) to figure out how this could possibly have taken place and who was responsible.
  • Many turned out on the streets to peacefully protest a justice system that too often does not provide African Americans the justice and protection they deserve.
  • But criminals, thugs and domestic terrorists then seized on the crisis to unleash riots, looting, fires, and ugly, violent attacks in cities all over the U.S.

Now, Israel.

  • We, too, are trying to recover from the COVID-19 crisis.
  • We have far fewer deaths, per capita, than the U.S.
  • And by God’s grace and wise leadership, we are successfully beginning to reopen our society.

That said, Israel’s government is now actively discussing the prospect of holding a vote in our parliament as early as July 1st to “annex” — or impose Israeli sovereign law over — up to 30% of the hotly disputed territory known to most of the world as the “West Bank.”

There are pros, but there are many cons, to such a move. But one also has to ask, “Why now?” Such a move is likely to create a firestorm of regional and global criticism against Israel. 

I examine the momentous decision Israel is about to make in this new column in The Jerusalem Post. Hope you’ll take a moment to read it, to comment on it, and to share it on social media. Thanks. 

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The Joshua Fund’s board appoints Dr. Carl A. Moeller as new executive director. Veteran CEO will lead effort to strengthen the church in Israel and the Arab world.

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JERUSALEM — The board of directors of The Joshua Fund today announced the appointment of Dr. Carl A. Moeller as the organization’s new executive director, effective June 1, 2020. 

Dr. Moeller was unanimously elected by the board in March to lead The Joshua Fund, an organization founded in 2006 by New York Times bestselling author Joel C. Rosenberg and his wife Lynn. The mission of The Joshua Fund is to “bless Israel and her neighbors in the name of Jesus,” according to Genesis 12:1-3, and to strengthen the Church to help fulfill the Great Commission.

To that end, The Joshua Fund educates and mobilizes Christians around the world to pray for and invest in God’s work — including relief — in the “Epicenter” of the Middle East where potential conflicts prophesized in the Old Testament are expected to take place. 

“I have known Carl for many years and have been deeply impressed with his passion to strengthen followers of Jesus Christ to fulfill the Great Commission wherever they are, even when they face hardship and outright persecution,” said Rosenberg, the organization’s co-founder and chairman. “I believe that Carl is the right man at the right time to help The Joshua Fund continue to be a trusted resource for any Christian who wants to help advance the Kingdom of Christ in the very birthplace of the Church.” 

Dr. Moeller is a well-known and trusted leader in the global evangelical ministry world. His experience includes staff responsibilities with Cru (previously Campus Crusade for Christ) and Saddleback Church. He previously served as president and CEO of Biblica (formerly International Bible Society) from 2014 to 2017 and in the same role at Open Doors, USA from 2003 to 2012. Most recently, he held the position of executive pastor at Northland Church just outside Orlando, Florida.

Dr. Moeller earned his bachelor’s degree from Penn State University. He received his Master of Divinity degree from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Chicago and his Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from the University of Utah.

As executive director, Dr. Moeller will utilize his skills in motivational speaking, strategic planning, administration and fundraising to advance the cause of the Gospel in Israel and surrounding countries.

“Israel and the Middle East are perhaps the most important area to the future of the world,” Dr. Moeller said. “I believe that to fulfill the Great Commission and Great Commandment in region, we must walk in full obedience to Christ and seek peace, justice and healing by being the hands and feet of Jesus, regardless of the risk or the cost to us. The Joshua Fund is selflessly modeling and leading the way, which is why I am thrilled to join this amazing team.”

The Joshua Fund has invested more than $50 million in congregations and ministries in Israel, the Palestinian Authority and five neighboring Arab countries, including Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt, and has assisted in the establishment of 17 food and relief distribution centers in Israel.

Additionally, The Joshua Fund leads “Prayer & Vision Tours” to Israel; has hosted “Epicenter Conferences” in the U.S., Israel, Germany and the Philippines; and taken delegations of American evangelical leaders to meet with senior Arab leaders throughout the region. 

“Carl Moeller’s global experience, speaking ability, and positive, creative forward-looking worldview are ideally suited for the current season of The Joshua Fund,” said Wayne Pederson, senior vice chairman of the organization’s board and chair of the search team. “Wonderful opportunities for the Gospel are opening up in the Epicenter following disruptions from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Joshua Fund is poised to move forward positively with strong passion and leadership that Carl will provide. I look forward to working with him in his new role.”

The Joshua Fund board enlisted the expertise of the Slingshot Group during its search process before unanimously approving Dr. Moeller. As he assumes his responsibilities as president on June 1, Dr. Moeller succeeds Tim Lugbill who has faithfully and humbly served in various roles with The Joshua Fund since its inception in 2006, first as board chair and subsequently as executive director, beginning in 2014.

For more information about The Joshua Fund, visit JoshuaFund.com.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: To schedule a print or broadcast interview with Dr. Carl Moeller or Mr. Joel C. Rosenberg, contact Wayne Pederson at wpederson@me.com

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Saudi newspaper publishes rare interview with Israeli citizen. Here’s what I said to “Al-Riyadh” about Iran and MBS’s vision for moderation, reform and peace.

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(Jerusalem, Israel) — It is not every day that a Saudi newspaper publishes an interview with an Israeli Jewish citizen from an Evangelical faith, especially one discussing some of the most important and controversial matters in the Kingdom and region.

Yet to their credit, Al-Riyadh, a newspaper located in the capital of Saudi Arabia, published just such an interview with me yesterday. Indeed, it was their reporter who initiated the conversation.

It should be noted that the article never mentions that I am an Israeli, or that I did the interview by phone from my home in Jerusalem. The article also carefully avoids using the word “Israel,” even though I mentioned Israel repeatedly during the interview.

That said, overall, I regard this as a very positive development.

I am deeply grateful to three Arab friends in the region who translated the article from Arabic for me. I have synthesized their translations together — and spent a good deal of time on the phone with one of them — to provide a good and fair English translation. I hope you’ll take a moment to read it below. Then, please feel free to send me your comments via Twitter or my “Epicenter Team” page on Facebook. Thanks.

JOEL ROSENBERG TO AL-RIYADH: DIPLOMACY OF CROWN PRINCE IS LEADING TO PEACE AND MODERATION IN THE REGION

By Hadeel Oueiss, Al-Riyadh newspaper, May 21, 2020

The reforms that Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman are making are historic and having positive and dramatic effects on the Saudi kingdom and the region, says Joel Rosenberg, who is president of an association of Evangelical Christian leaders [that has met with numerous Arab leaders throughout the region, including MBS].

Such reforms show that Saudi Arabia wants to lead on initiatives regarding peace and moderation that will change the path of Saudi Arabia and the Middle East towards a better future, guided by young leadership and a new vision.

Rosenberg told the Al-Riyadh newspaper that the Iranian threat is the main danger that the Middle East must work to confront, and he praised the strategy of the Crown Prince towards Iran.

This strategy is based on strengthening the Kingdom’s stability and diversifying diplomatic relationships with other countries that would join Saudi Arabia in stopping Iran from exporting its evil and terrorism and who are willing to stand on common ground with the Saudis against Iran.

The strategy also involves not compromising towards Iran or removing the pressure on Iran that has led to internal struggle within the mullahs’ regime. Iran is facing collapse due to a serious economic crisis and the rejection of their own people. 

Rosenberg also added, “I see that Saudi Arabia, under the leadership of the Crown Prince, is making important strides in its ability to expand Saudi alliances and partnerships. This will bring about strategic and economic gains for the country, especially since two-thirds of the Saudi people are young, under the age of 30. They are looking to take advantage of the full potential of Saudi Arabia.”

“The aspirations of this generation – and the challenges they face – are different from what the previous generation experienced. The Saudi youth of today did not grow up experiencing the traditional conflicts of the region and have not been personally affected by them. They did not witness the wars of 1948, 1967 and 1973. It is a new generation with different experiences and new needs that the Crown Prince is dealing with as he builds new international relationships and plans that provide for the needs of these young people and a different vision of the future.”

“At its core, this is a thoroughly Saudi vision, more than ever before, and it concerns Saudi youth, their economic future, and how to change policies in order to serve the economy and to improve the quality of lives of individuals in Saudi Arabia.”

Rosenberg said that improving the standard of living and diversifying the economy is what all modern and stable countries seek and countries must draw their foreign policy accordingly, seeking to maintain good relationships with countries on all sides and dealing with other people regardless of their ideologies.

These goals are the focus of the Crown Prince’s vision, which is to create a future with a promising economy and political environment that is in harmony with the aspiration of the youth, rather than certain ideologies that would not be helpful for their future. 

Rosenberg also revealed a new opinion poll that he conducted in partnership with a company run by the American pollster, John McLaughlin. It found that more than 50% of the American people will support the Crown Prince and Saudi Arabia if they open to the world and work for peace in the region. [See note below.]

Rosenberg concluded, “My personal experience in meeting the Crown Prince was very positive, and perhaps a small example of the future of Saudi Arabia – a country that is open to welcoming others, that has the goal of deepening Saudi relations with the rest of the world. It is definitely in the national interest of the Saudis to diversify their economy and achieve this by diversifying relations with every country in the world and making Saudi Arabia a country that leads the efforts towards peace and moderation in the Middle East.”

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NOTE: It should be noted that the poll question cited in the article was not specifically about Saudi Crown Prince MBS. It was a question about whether the American people would view more favorably any Arab leader who chooses to sign a peace treaty with Israel in the near future. I will publish the exact question and poll results soon.

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BREAKING: New Israeli national unity government sworn in after 18-months of political paralysis. And Israeli society begins to re-open. Here’s the latest.

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(Jerusalem, Israel) — After three national elections and a political crisis that left the country without a duly-elected government for nearly 18 months, Israel finally has a national unity government.

The Knesset voted 73 to 46 to establishment the new government, and its members were officially sworn in today.

  • Benjamin Netanyahu will be Prime Minister for the fifth time. However, he will only serve until November 17, 2021. 
  • Benny Gantz, the former IDF chief of staff, will serve first as Defense Minister while also holding the title of “Alternate Prime Minister.” On November 17, 2021, he will then switch with Netanyahu and becomes the nation’s full Prime Minister.

I’ll provide analysis of the new government in the days and weeks ahead.

For now, however, there is more good news.

Please join me in thanking the Lord that the COVID-19 crisis hasn’t been as deadly here as in other countries. Because Israel was one of the first countries to go into lock-down mode, the virus was impressively contained — and the country is beginning to reopen.

  • As of this weekend, we have had nearly 17,000 cases, yet only 265 people have died.
  • While each of those deaths is very sad, compare that number to Belgium which has roughly the same population as Israel yet as of this morning has experienced 8,903 deaths.
  • Or compare with the State of Georgia in the U.S., which also has a similar population to Israel but as of this morning has had 1,517 deaths.
  • Very few new cases have been reported in Israel in the past few weeks, so the country is beginning to re-open.
  • Almost all schools re-opened today Sunday.
  • Beaches will re-open on Wednesday.
  • Malls and many stores are re-opening, as are factories and other businesses. And airlines are beginning to schedule more flights to and from Israel.

The government is phasing everything in, and monitoring closely to make sure there aren’t significant spikes in new infections. It’s not clear when church congregations can begin meeting again — our congregation has been webcasting sermons and having social times via Zoom for the past few months — but overall we are feeling cautiously optimistic over here. We even invited some dear family friends over for a barbeque this week, the first family we’ve had in our home in months.

What’s more, modern Israel turned 72 last week — a modern miracle.

Please continue praying for all Israelis and Palestinians who have lost loved ones during this pandemic, for those who are still sick and for the many who have lost their jobs or their businesses. And please pray for our leaders to have wisdom to know how to proceed from this point forward. Thanks so much.

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