Israeli commandos approaching Turkish-flagged ship near Gaza. (photo credit: Haaretz)

UPDATED TUESDAY AFTERNOON: Israel is being bombarded with lies, false and unfair allegations and sheer anti-Semitic assaults. The U.S. is doing precious little to defend its most faithful ally in the Middle East, but this is the precise moment for followers of Jesus Christ to show unconditional love and unwavering support for the Jewish State amidst this brutal onslaught.

The Israeli Defense Forces had every right to defend themselves and their country from the brutal and premeditated attacks of terrorists and left-wing anti-Israel activists, and it is unconscionable for world leaders to act otherwise.

Here’s the background of what happened: Israeli is facing a new international crisis after a spasm of violence aboard Turkish-flagged boats filled with some 600 activists from the Middle East and Europe that were heading for Gaza as part of a “Gaza aid flotilla.” French, Danish and Israelis sources said some of the Turkish-backed left-wing activists had connections to terrorist organizations, including al-Qaeda and Hamas. The Israeli government had made it clear in advance that the six boats would not be allowed to enter Gaza directly but would have to bring any humanitarian aid they carried to be bringing through Israeli ports. Israeli commandos ordered the boats to stop, but the flotilla refused. The Israelis then forced the boats to stop and boarded them in part to determine if the activists were trying to smuggle weapons into Gaza. The commandos were then attacked by the activists and the Israelis defended themselves. At least 10 activists were killed and several more were wounded. At least 5 Israeli commandos were wounded, as well.

“They [the Israeli soldiers] were mobbed, they were clubbed, they were beaten, stabbed, there was even a report of gunfire. And our soldiers had to defend themselves,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. “Our policy was and will continue to be that Israel would let humanitarian aid, any kind of goods that are meant for peace, to the civilian population of Gaza….We have no problems with the people of Gaza. We do have a conflict with the terrorist regime of Hamas, supported by Iran. We want to maintain a situation where we prevent weapons and war materials from coming into Gaza, and allowing humanitarian aid to go to the population of Gaza.”
Harsh international criticism has ensued against Israel, not against the violent activists. The Turkish Prime Minister is calling the raid “a masscre.” Anti-Israeli leaders are calling for a U.N. Security Council resolution to condemn Israel. Arab and Iranian media are filled with lies and false allegations. Netanyahu was supposed to meet with President Obama but instead spoke to him briefly by phone and flew back to Israel to manage the mushrooming public relations crisis.


Here is video of the incident involving activists attacking Israeli commandos aboard a ship trying to reach Gaza. More video.


White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, left, and his son Zach, pause next to the Western Wall, Judaism's holiest site, in Jerusalem's Old City Thursday, May 27, 2010. Emanuel is in Israel to celebrate his son's bar mitzvah, a coming-of-age ceremony for 13-year-old Jewish boys. Emanuel has also taken time out of his private visit to meet with Israeli leaders.(AP Photo/Tomer Appelbaum)

UPDATED AT 1:20PM FRIDAY: Here’s a “train wreck” update. President Obama’s support with the American Jewish community is plunging due to his administration’s hostility towards Israel over the past year. A full 78% of Americans Jews voted for Obama in 2008. But now a stunning new poll finds 46% of Jews are actively considering voting for someone else in 2012. Only 42% say they would vote to re-elect Obama.

On April 15, Ronald S. Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, sent a letter to Mr. Obama expressing rarely heard before public concern by the Jewish community over the actions of a Democratic President. In it, he expressed “alarm” over “the dramatic deterioration of diplomatic relations between the United States and Israel.” He also publicly criticized the administration for beginning to turn against Israel, a longtime friend and strategic ally. “Why does the thrust of this Administration’s Middle East rhetoric seem to blame Israel for the lack of movement on peace talks?” asked Lauder. “After all, it is the Palestinians, not Israel, who refuse to negotiate.”

The following week, Sen. Chuck Schumer, the Jewish Democrat from New York, publicly blasted the Obama administration for it’s “counter-productive” approach towards Israel and towards Iran.

There are no indications that President Obama has decided to change his policies. He still wants to force Israel to divide Jerusalem. He still wants to force Israel to give away the strategically critical West Bank and Jordan Valley to the Palestinians who still refuse to sit down and negotiate with Israel face to face. He is still doing nothing decisive or effective to stop Iran from getting the Bomb. He still wants to force Israel not to launch a pre-emptive strike against Iran’s nuclear sites. Most recently, he has begun trying to force Israel to disclose and then dismantle its (thus unacknowledged) defensive nuclear weapons, which would leave the Jewish State naked and vulnerable against genocidal enemies.

That said, the President and his administration have recently launched a charm offensive with Israel and the Jewish community, trying to undo the enormous damage that has been caused in the relationship between both countries by the White House’s hostility in recent months. Examples:

One American Jewish leader told me this week that he doesn’t believe the White House is mainly concerned about losing the Jewish vote in 2010 or 2012, since overall the Jewish community is a relatively small one. Rather, he believes Democrat leaders are very worried that Jewish contributions to the party and to their individual candidates — contributions that are traditionally in the millions of dollars — could begin to dry up, and that this has them increasingly worried in an already increasingly difficult political climate.

What is needed, however, is not cosmetic surgery in this relationship. What is needed is radical reconstructive surgery of the Obama administration’s policies. They need to start seeing Iran as the threat and the problem, not Israel, and take bold, decisive measures accordingly. Time is running out.



  • Full schedule of the conference will soon be posted at
  • Over 1,300 people registered
  • Over 700 radio stations and several TV networks will be broadcasting portions of the conference
  • Four weeks left to register to attend or to show the webcast to your congregation


  • Register today for the 2010 Epicenter Conference in Philadelphia on June 25-26 
  • Sign up your congregation to show the live webcast of the Epicenter Conference 
  • Visit The Joshua Fund’s new website — bless Israel and her neighbors by making a financial contribution to provide food, clothing, medical supplies and other humanitarian relief to the poor and needy in the epicenter 
  • Join the “Epicenter Team” on Facebook for prayer requests, geopolitical updates, and more 
  • Visit, and sign up for Joel’s weekly email updates

    Speaking at the Hyatt Regency in Washington. (photo by Dave Olsson)

    UPDATE: It was an honor to address the National Pastors Briefing Thursday morning at the Hyatt Regency in Washington with more than 400 pastors and ministry leaders present. The theme of the conference was “Watchmen on the Wall,” from Isaiah 62:6. Tying this in to the first half of Ezekiel 33, I explained talk about the threats the U.S. and Israel face from Iran and Radical Islam, four strategies by which the Church can and should respond — learn, pray, give, and go — and a several practical examples how The Joshua Fund seeks to be faithful to these approaches. After inviting each of the pastors to attend this summer’s Epicenter Conference in Philadelphia and show the webcast to their congregations, I also asked them to prayerfully consider bringing a tour to Israel next May when we hold the next Epicenter Conference at the International Convention Center in Jerusalem May 15-16. More details soon. Thanks so much for your prayers. The message was very warmly received and my colleague, Dave Olsson, and I were blessed to connect with pastors we’ve known for a long time as well as make many new friendships. Special thanks to FRC president Tony Perkins and his staff for inviting us and making Israel a major topic of their conference. God bless you guys.

    To watch the archived webcast of Joel’s message, please click here.

    ORIGINAL POST — Prayer request: I will be addressing the Family Research Council’s National Pastors Briefing in Washington, D.C. at 11:25am eastern. Topic: “Israel and the Iran Nuclear Threat — What Every Pastor Should Know.” For more information — or to watch a webcast of the event — please click here. Thanks.


    A few of the latest headlines in recent days from Israel, the Middle East, Afghanistan, Iraq and North Korea….


    “Israel’s annual national home front exercise begins on Sunday, as Hezbollah plays up fears in Lebanon that the drill means a conflict might loom with its southern neighbor,” reports Haaretz. “The exercise, ‘Turning Point 4,’ is due to last five days and be carried out in all parts of the country. During the first three days the drill will involve the Israel Defense Forces’ various command centers, the police, emergency services, ministries and other government offices. The exercise, which is held annually in May, will be broadened on Wednesday to include civilians, with a siren sounded at 11 A.M. throughout the country. Civilians will have to seek cover in shelters or other secure areas.”



  • Register today for the 2010 Epicenter Conference in Philadelphia on June 25-26 
  • Sign up your congregation to show the live webcast of the Epicenter Conference 
  • Visit The Joshua Fund’s new website — bless Israel and her neighbors by making a financial contribution to provide food, clothing, medical supplies and other humanitarian relief to the poor and needy in the epicenter 
  • Join the “Epicenter Team” on Facebook for prayer requests, geopolitical updates, and more 
  • Visit, and sign up for Joel’s weekly email updates

    ISRAELIS PREPARING FOR MASS EVACUATIONS IN CASE OF HEZBOLLAH MISSILE STRIKE: U.S. approves $205 million for “Iron Dome” rocket defenses


    Graphic of "Iron Dome" system. Source: Rafael Advanced Defense Systems

    >> ALERT: Joel Rosenberg to be interviewed on the nationally syndicated Lars Larson radio show Friday night at 8:20pm eastern on the latest developments in Israel.

    “The Israel Defense Forces Home Front Command is putting together a plan for the mass evacuation of civilians in the event of missile and rocket attacks,” reports Haaretz. “Hezbollah’s rockets can currently hit practically everywhere in the country. The plan will be studied as part of next week’s nationwide Home Front Command exercise. Defense officials are preparing for war scenarios including massive missile strikes on the home front. The authorities are assuming that many rockets would be fired at the northern border, rockets with heavier warheads would be aimed at the greater Tel Aviv area, and some IDF bases might be the first targets. Sources at Home Front Command say that in the event of war, the state would only evacuate civilians in certain areas such as the northern border, which may come under heavy bombardment.”

    Meanwhile, “the US House of Representatives approved $205 million in new funding for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense project by a vote of 410-4 on Thursday,” reports the Jerusalem Post. “The project is being developed to protect civilians, primarily along the Gaza Strip and Lebanese border, from short-range rockets and mortar attacks.”


    IDF attacks 3 Gaza tunnels — Air Force bombs targets in southern, northern Strip in response to rocket which hit Ashkelon Coast Regional Council. IDF: Hamas solely responsible for maintaining calm


    “Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s chief of staff, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, said Wednesday that if Israel attacked Iran it would be destroyed within a week,” reports Ynet News. “Speaking at a political conference of ultra-conservatives in Iran’s north, Mashaei said, ‘If the Zionist regime attacks Iran, the Zionists will have no longer than a week to live.’  The semi-official Fars news agency quoted him as saying that the Islamic Republic would destroy Israel ‘in less than 10 days.'”

    Update: Why Israel supports watered-down Iran nuclear sanctions


  • Register today for the 2010 Epicenter Conference in Philadelphia on June 25-26 
  • Sign up your congregation to show the live webcast of the Epicenter Conference 

    UN SECURITY COUNCIL READIES LAME, TOOTHLESS SANCTIONS ON IRAN: But Tehran is still building the Bomb. God help us all.

    War is coming, and the U.N. Security Council is doing precious little to stop it. (Reuters/Lucas Jackson )

    One day after Iran and Turkey announced an agreement in the hopes of thwarting any international economic sanctions against Iran, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced a 10-page resolution with new sanctions had just been agreed to by the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council (the U.S., Russia, U.K., France, and China), plus Germany. That’s the good news: the  world’s major powers didn’t completely cave into the Iranian regime’s latest round of deception and trickery. 

    The bad news: the world’s major powers have mostly caved. The resolution abandons any hope for the “crippling sanctions” President Obama and Secretary Clinton once vowed to impose. Instead, we’re about to see another round of lame, toothless sanctions even as Tehran continues building the Bomb, prepares to annihilate the U.S. and Israel, and prepares for the arrival of the Twelfth Imam and the end of the world.

    “This policy is unlikely to succeed,” said former U.N. weapons inspector David Kay at a panel discussion in Washington, reported AP. “The real question is what if sanctions fail? What are we to do?”

    AP also reported that “Richard Perle, a former Pentagon official, said he doubted sanctions would be effective in stopping Iran and recommended the U.S. back the Iranian opposition as a way of pressing regime change.”

    Even the New York Times noted in its story this morning: “[E]ven if the Security Council adopts the new sanctions, it is unclear whether the provisions — including a mandate to inspect Iranian ships suspected of entering international ports with nuclear-related technology or weapons — would inflict enough pain to force Iran to halt its uranium enrichment and cooperate with international inspectors. None of the previous three sets of sanctions passed by the Council during the Bush administration succeeded in their goal: forcing Iran to end its enrichment of uranium and to answer the many questions posed by international inspectors related to their suspicions about Iranian research into nuclear weapons. Some of the toughest proposals were barely even discussed as the United States sought support from China, which is a major trading partner with Iran and has been the most resistant to new sanctions. Along with the Russians, the Chinese blocked any measure that would stop the flow of oil from Iranian ports or gasoline into the country. President Obama himself had raised the possibility of such sanctions during the 2008 campaign.”

    War is coming and once again the U.N. Security Council is doing precious little to stop it. God help us all.

  • Register today for the 2010 Epicenter Conference in Philadelphia on June 25-26 
  • Sign up your congregation to show the live webcast of the Epicenter Conference 
  • Visit The Joshua Fund’s new website — bless Israel and her neighbors by making a financial contribution to provide food, clothing, medical supplies and other humanitarian relief to the poor and needy in the epicenter 
  • Join the “Epicenter Team” on Facebook for prayer requests, geopolitical updates, and more
  • Visit, and sign up for Joel’s weekly email updates

    UPDATED: Iran’s nuclear deal to give much of its low-grade enriched uranium (3.5% purity) to Turkey in return for the delivery of smaller batch of higher-grade (20%) uranium within one year in order to avoid U.N. economic sanctions is ridiculous on its face. The deal would allow Iran to continue enriching uranium to weapons-grade levels while the  world does nothing. It would allow Iran to cancel the agreement at any time. It would do nothing to stop Iran from building new nuclear facilities, expand existing facilities, or actually building nuclear bombs. International support for the deal would actually raise the chances of a war between Iran and Israel. Why? Because Israeli leaders could very well conclude that the world had now completely abandoned any meaningful efforts to stop Iran from getting the Bomb before it’s too late.

    As a Wall Street Journal editorial noted Tuesday morning: “The deal will, however, make it nearly impossible to disrupt Iran’s nuclear program short of military action. The U.N. is certainly a dead end. After 16 months of his extended hand and after downplaying support for Iran’s democratic opposition, Mr. Obama now faces an Iran much closer to a bomb and less diplomatically isolated than when President Bush left office. Israel will have to seriously consider its military options. Such a confrontation is far more likely thanks to the diplomatic double-cross of Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Brazil’s Lula, and especially to a U.S. President whose diplomacy has succeeded mainly in persuading the world’s rogues that he lacks the determination to stop their destructive ambitions.”

    • New York Times: U.S. Is Skeptical on Iranian Deal for Nuclear Fuel
    • AP: Britain, Germany skeptical of Iran deal
    • Jerusalem Post: Netanyahu meets with senior Israeli leaders to discuss response to Iran’s nuclear deal, brokered by Turkey and Brazil
    • Washington Post: Iran creates illusion of progress in nuclear negotiations — In the long-running diplomatic battle between Iran and the West, Iran appears to have scored a victory on Monday. By striking a deal to ship some of its low-enriched uranium abroad, Iran has created the illusion of progress in nuclear negotiations with the West, without offering any real compromise to the United States and its allies, who have demanded substantive negotiations on Tehran’s broader program….The Obama administration now faces the uncomfortable prospect of rejecting a proposal it offered in the first place — or seeing months of effort to enact new sanctions derailed.”
    • Wall Street Journal: Iran’s Nuclear Coup; Ahmadinejad and Lula expose Obama’s hapless diplomacy — “What a fiasco. That’s the first word that comes to mind watching Mahmoud Ahmadinejad raise his arms yesterday with the leaders of Turkey and Brazil to celebrate a new atomic pact that instantly made irrelevant 16 months of President Obama’s ‘diplomacy.’ The deal is a political coup for Tehran and possibly delivers the coup de grace to the West’s half-hearted efforts to stop Iran from acquiring a nuclear bomb. Full credit for this debacle goes to the Obama Administration and its hapless diplomatic strategy. Last October, nine months into its engagement with Tehran, the White House concocted a plan to transfer some of Iran’s uranium stock abroad for enrichment. If the West couldn’t stop Iran’s program, the thinking was that maybe this scheme would delay it. The Iranians played coy, then refused to accept the offer. But Mr. Obama doesn’t take no for an answer from rogue regimes, and so he kept the offer on the table. As the U.S. finally seemed ready to go to the U.N. Security Council for more sanctions, the Iranians chose yesterday to accept the deal on their own limited terms while enlisting the Brazilians and Turks as enablers and political shields.”
    • Some of the terms of the deal: “Under the terms unveiled yesterday, Iran said it would send 1,200 kilograms (2,646 lbs.) of low-enriched uranium to Turkey within a month, and no more than a year later get back 120 kilograms enriched from somewhere else abroad. This makes even less sense than the flawed October deal. In the intervening seven months, Iran has kicked its enrichment activities into higher gear. Its estimated total stock has gone to 2,300 kilograms from 1,500 kilograms last autumn, and its stated enrichment goal has gone to 20% from 3.5%. If the West accepts this deal, Iran would be allowed to keep enriching uranium in contravention of previous U.N. resolutions. Removing 1,200 kilograms will leave Iran with still enough low-enriched stock to make a bomb, and once uranium is enriched up to 20% it is technically easier to get to bomb-capable enrichment levels.” (WSJ)


    From left: Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan pose for a picture in Tehran. Iran has agreed to ship the bulk of its low enriched uranium abroad in a nuclear fuel swap deal backed by Turkey and Brazil but treated cautiously by European powers seeking new sanctions against Tehran. (AFP/Atta Kenare)

    “A nuclear-armed Iran would blunt Israel’s military autonomy, a wargame involving former Israeli generals and diplomats has concluded, though some players predicted Tehran would also exercise restraint,” says a new report by Reuters this morning. “Sunday’s event at a campus north of Tel Aviv followed other high-profile Iran simulations in Israel and the United States in recent months. But it broke new ground by assuming the existence of what both countries have pledged to prevent: an Iranian bomb.  ‘Iranian deterrence proved dizzyingly effective,’ Eitan Ben-Eliahu, a retired air force commander who played the Israeli defence minister, said in his summary of the 20-team meeting. Though the wargame saw Iran declaring itself a nuclear power in 2011, the ensuing confrontations were by proxy, in Lebanon. In one, emboldened Hezbollah guerrillas fired missiles at the Defence Ministry in Tel Aviv. That was followed by U.S. and Israeli intelligence findings that Iran had slipped radioactive materials to its Lebanese cohort, to assemble a crude device. Neither move drew Israeli attacks, though Ben-Eliahu said his delegation had received discreet encouragement from Arab rivals of Iran to ‘go all the way’ in retaliating. Instead, Israel conferred with the United States, which publicly supported its ally’s ‘right to self-defence’ and mobilised military reinforcements for the region while quietly insisting the Israelis stand down to give crisis talks a chance. ‘As far as the United States was concerned, Israel was trigger-happy. It sought to use the Hezbollah (missile) attack as justification for what the United States was told would be an all-out war,’ said Dan Kurtzer, a former U.S. ambassador to Tel Aviv who played President Barack Obama…..” [To read the rest of the article, please click here]


  • Register today for the 2010 Epicenter Conference in Philadelphia on June 25-26
  • Sign up your congregation to show the live webcast of the Epicenter Conference
  • Visit The Joshua Fund’s new website — bless Israel and her neighbors by making a financial contribution to provide food, clothing, medical supplies and other humanitarian relief to the poor and needy in the epicenter
  • Join the “Epicenter Team” on Facebook for prayer requests, geopolitical updates, and more
  • Visit, and sign up for Joel’s weekly email updates