Discussion over the real and looming threat of a major war in the Tel Aviv-to-Tehran corridor dominated the final presidential debate last night. Iran, Israel and the disaster in Syria were mentioned more than any other countries — more than China, far more than Russia. Canada and Mexico were never mentioned last night.

Indeed, the sharpest and most impassioned confrontations between President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney came over the Iran nuclear threat, the prospect of Israel launching a full-scale war against Iran, and whether the U.S. will stand with Israel as a faithful ally.

However, one of the most disturbing moments for me personally came when moderator Bob Schieffer of CBS News asked: “Would either of you be willing to declare that an attack on Israel is an attack on the United States, which of course is the same promise that we give to our close allies like Japan? And if you made such a declaration, would not that deter Iran? It’s certainly deterred the Soviet Union for a long, long time when we made that — when we made that promise to our allies.”

This was a flawed question. The far more important question is: If diplomacy and sanctions and covert operations don’t stop Iran from getting the Bomb, would you fully support Israel if Prime Minister Netanyahu feels he has no choice but to order preemptive military strikes on Iran.

Nevertheless, President Obama accepted the premise of the question and replied, “I will stand with Israel if they are attacked.” Mr. Obama tried to portray himself as a strong ally of Israel throughout the rest of that answer and the entirety of the evening. But consider his answer more carefully. The President did not say unequivocally that he would stand with Israel in a preemptive strike on Iran, if that were the last option available. Rather, Mr. Obama insisted he would help Israel after Iran attacks the Jewish state. But if Iran attacks Israel with nuclear weapons, it would be too late for American military assistance to do much good. Indeed, it is immoral for an American president to vow to defend Israel only after she has been attacked with nuclear weapons. Yet this is the President’s position.

True, President Obama noted that “as long as I’m president of the United States, Iran will not get a nuclear weapon.” But as I explain in detail in my new book, Israel At War: Inside The Nuclear Showdown With Iran, Israeli leaders aren’t convinced they can trust Mr. Obama to prevent Iran from getting the Bomb. The Israelis see time passing. They see the Obama administration interested in never-ending diplomacy with Iranian leaders who have shown no serious interest in making a deal despite years of attempts. They see Iran getting closer to the Bomb, and they see the White House constantly undermining the Israeli military option, and signaling that when the U.S. says “all options are on the table” that the President and his advisors don’t really mean they are seriously considering military options. 

Advantage Romney? Perhaps, but it wasn’t so clear.

Overall, I have come to believe over the past few months that Governor Romney would likely be a better ally for Israel that President Obama. He certainly wouldn’t do worse than Mr. Obama in creating tensions between the two nations. He has known Benjamin Netanyahu personally for many years, since they worked together at a business consulting firm in Boston in the mid-1970s. He has articulated a very pro-Israel policy throughout his campaign. And last night Romney made a strong defense for better U.S.-Israeli relations and gave a devastating critique of the President’s troubled relationship with Israel and weakness vis-a-vis Iran. “We’re four years closer to a nuclear Iran,” Romney noted. “We’re four years closer to a nuclear Iran. And — and we should not have wasted these four years to the extent they’ve — they continue to be able to spin these centrifuges and get that much closer. That’s number one. Number two, Mr. President, the reason I call it an apology tour is because you went to the Middle East and you flew to — to Egypt and to Saudi Arabia and to — to Turkey and Iraq. And — and by way, you skipped Israel, our closest friend in the region, but you went to the other nations. And by the way, they noticed that you skipped Israel. And then in those nations and on Arabic TV you said that America had been dismissive and derisive. You said that on occasion America had dictated to other nations. Mr. President, America has not dictated to other nations. We have freed other nations from dictators.” Strong stuff.

But if you look closely, Mr. Romney last night did not indicate clear and unequivocal support for a preemptive Israeli strike. Rather, he echoed the President’s promise to stand with Israel after a nuclear attack by Iran. “Well, first of all, I — I want to underscore the — the same point the president made,” Romney said, “which is that if I’m president of the United States, when I’m president of the United States, we will stand with Israel. And if Israel is attacked, we have their back, not just diplomatically, not just culturally, but militarily.”

Was Romney concerned a stronger answer might allow the President to label him a “war monger”? Perhaps. But Romney’s answer came out soft. I repeat: it is immoral for an American president to offer to stand with Israel only after she has been attacked by Iranian nuclear warheads. Jewish and Christian friends of Israel must ask: Would a President Romney actually take decisive action to neutralize the Iran threat, even if that meant American military strikes? If not, would he fully and unequivocally back an Israeli strike on Iran, if no other options were available? I think so. I hope so. But he didn’t actually say so last night.

At one point, Mr. Schieffer asked Romney, “What if — what if the prime minister of Israel called you on the phone and said: ‘Our bombers are on the way?. We’re going to bomb Iran’? What do you say?”

“Bob, let’s not go into hypotheticals of that nature,” Romney replied. “Our relationship with Israel, my relationship with the prime minister of Israel is such that we would not get a call saying our bombers are on the way or their fighters are on the way. This is the kind of thing that would have been discussed and thoroughly evaluated well before that kind of action.”

Does that mean a President Romney would give a green light to Netanyahu days or weeks ahead of an Israeli strike? It sounded that way, but he wasn’t precise. Rather, he changed the subject. Indeed, he actually left himself plenty of room not to support an Israeli strike. Why? It is worth asking why the Governor didn’t offer a clear statement of support for Israeli action if needed, when this would have provided a clear point of difference with President Obama. No one wants war. But if war must come, President Obama refuses to promise to stand with Israel in a preemptive strike. Isn’t it a bit odd that Governor Romney is leaving doubt, as well?

Last point: I found it intriguing that the candidates for the most powerful office of the most powerful nation on earth did not focus primarily on the most populous nations on earth, like the 1.2 billion people in China, or the one billion people in India. Rather, they focused primarily on future “wars and rumors of war” in the Middle East. Bible prophecy indicates that in the “last days,” the eyes of the nations will be riveted on Israel and her neighbors and enemies, the epicenter of the momentous events that are shaking our world and shaping our future. Last night was further evidence this trend is coming to pass before our eyes.

Consider the following facts, based on a search of the full debate transcript:

  • Iran was mentioned 53 times
  • Israel was mentioned 34 times
  • Syria was mentioned 34 times
  • China was mentioned 32 times
  • Pakistan was mentioned 25 times
  • Iraq was mentioned 22 times
  • Libya was mentioned 12 times
  • Egypt was mentioned 11 times
  • Russia was mentioned 10 times
  • Lebanon was mentioned 2 times
  • Saudis were mentioned 2 times
  • Palestinians were mentioned 1 time
  • France was mentioned 1 time
  • Great Britain was mentioned 1 time
  • Jordan was not mentioned
  • India was not mentioned
  • Indonesia was not mentioned
  • Mexico was not mentioned
  • Canada was not mentioned

>> WILL NETANYAHU TAKE ISRAEL TO FULL SCALE WAR? Read exclusive excerpts from new ebook, Israel At War

>> New e-book – Israel At War: Inside The Nuclear Showdown With Iran — now available on Kindle, Nook, other formats for $2,99 (includes sneak preview of material from forthcoming Damascus Countdown novel, as well)


Curious how the Israeli and American Jewish media is covering last night’s final presidential debate? Here are links to some of most interesting stories:


Israel continues to prepare for a full-scale, all-out war with Iran. Now it is conducting a major military exercise with U.S. forces. “The Israeli military says its largest ever exercise with the United States has begun,” reports the Associated Press. “A major air defense drill called Austere Challenge 2012 started Sunday and includes more than 3,500 Americans and 1,000 Israelis. The militaries are practicing their ability to work together against a range of threats facing Israel, the main U.S. ally in the Mideast. The military exercise was originally scheduled for April but was postponed at Israel’s request. No reason was given but it came amid growing talk of Israel preparing to attack Iran if Tehran does not cease its uranium enrichment program. The weeks-long joint exercise will test multiple Israeli and American air defense systems against incoming missiles and rockets from places as far away as Iran.”

>> WILL NETANYAHU TAKE ISRAEL TO FULL SCALE WAR? Read exclusive excerpts from new ebook, Israel At War

>> New e-book – Israel At War: Inside The Nuclear Showdown With Iran — now available on Kindle, Nook, other formats for $2,99 (includes sneak preview of material from forthcoming Damascus Countdown novel, as well)


Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, celebrating on Sunday.

Please join me in wishing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu happy birthday. He turned 63 yesterday.

Please pray for him, his wife, Sara, and their children. May the Lord bless them and draw them close to His heart in this year ahead.


Please pray for all those involved in this terrible act of evil. “Minutes after a deadly bomb ripped through a calm and urbane neighborhood in the heart of Beirut, the city’s silent majority shuddered,” reports CNN. “The car bomb rocked the main Christian area of Lebanon’s capital, a populous stretch replete with shops, churches and office buildings. The massive blast killed eight people and wounded more than 90 others, leaving a huge crater of rubble near Sassine Square in East Beirut’s Ashrafiyeh district. While it’s still too early to determine who was behind the attack, it unearthed fears that Lebanon’s bad old days are back again…” — NYT: Top security official killed in blast


The Joshua Fund has just posted a new video blog in which I provide an update on the 2012 Epicenter Conference that we recently held in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I hope you’ll take a moment to view it.

Among the points I make in the video is how encouraged I’ve been by the fact that more than 80,000 people in more than 120 countries around the world and in all 50 states have watched portions of the conference online at That is up significantly from the 50,000 or so people that watched the 2011 Epicenter Conference we held in Jerusalem.

Most importantly, however, I share how encouraged I was by the content that our speakers shared at this year’s conference. If you haven’t done so yet, I hope you’ll make time to watch the following messages:

>> Help The Joshua Fund care for the poor and needy in Israel, teach the Word of God in the epicenter, educate and mobilize Christians around the world to bless poor and needy Israelis, train pastors and ministry leaders in Egypt, strengthen the believers in Syria, and prepare for a possible major new war in the epicenter — please prayerfully consider a generous, tax deductible financial contribution to The Joshua Fund.

>> Come with The Joshua Fund and me to Israel for the 2013 “Prayer & Vision Tour” and the 2012 Epicenter Conference — click here for more details and to register


The clock is ticking on Israel’s decision to go to war with Iran. As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Security Cabinet weigh the timing for a preemptive military strike on Iran, they are assessing many pieces of data. Among them: Are international negotiations, economic sanctions, and covert attacks slowing down Iran’s efforts to enrich enough uranium to build the Bomb, or not? What are Israel’s options to deny them the Bomb, other than full-scale, all-out war? Will the U.S. stand with Israel — or abandon Israel — if Netanyahu orders a preemptive strike?

In this context, two pieces of data should be carefully considered:

  1. “Iran is believed to be further increasing its uranium enrichment capacity at its Fordow plant buried deep underground, Western diplomats say, in another sign of Tehran defying international demands to curb its disputed nuclear programme,” Reuters reported Thursday.
  2. “In recent months, Iranian regime spokesmen have conducted a campaign of statements regarding Iran’s intent to enrich uranium for use in nuclear-fueled ships and submarines – the latter a patently military use of nuclear power,” reported the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) last month. “Regime officials, regime dailies, and websites close to the regime issued no fewer than 12 such statements, in which they declared Iran’s intent to enrich uranium for nuclear fuel to power both surface sea craft and submarines. It should be noted that while nuclear fuel for surface craft entails uranium enrichment of 50-60%, nuclear-powered submarines require enrichment of 90%, which is the same level needed for the production of a nuclear bomb. From its inception, this campaign of statements was meant as a counterargument to heightened Western sanctions. The regime said that in the face of sanctions restricting its use of oil, Tehran had no choice but to develop an alternative source of energy to fuel commercial transport, in order to maintain its ties with the world. However, in what would seem a strategic error, regime spokesmen in their statements conflated nuclear fuel for surface vessels for use in trade, with nuclear fuel for submarines which are categorically designated for military use, not civilian use. For this reason, after realizing that these statements had exposed Tehran’s intentions to attain the 90% enrichment needed for a nuclear bomb, the Iranian regime has over the past month issued no further declarations regarding nuclear submarines. Moreover, several regime spokesmen backed down from the declarations, stating that Iran has no need at this stage for uranium enriched beyond 20%, and that the country is nonetheless capable of higher enrichment.”

>> WILL NETANYAHU TAKE ISRAEL TO FULL SCALE WAR? Read exclusive excerpts from new ebook, Israel At War

>> New e-book – Israel At War: Inside The Nuclear Showdown With Iran — now available on Kindle, Nook, other formats for $2,99 (includes sneak preview of material from forthcoming Damascus Countdown novel, as well)


Arbabsiar, along with Gholam Shakuri, was charged Oct. 11, 2011 with plotting to killing the Saudi Arabian Ambassador to the U.S. and to bomb the Israeli and Saudi Arabian embassies in Washington DC. (Nueces County Sheriff’s Office/Getty Images/ABC News)

“The man accused of plotting with the Iranian military to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington, D.C. pleaded guilty today,” reports ABC News. “Iranian-American Manssor Arbabsiar was arrested in late September 2011 for his alleged role in what U.S. officials said at the time was a plot to commit a ‘significant terrorist attack in the United States.’ The U.S. said Arbabsiar, a 58-year-old from Corpus Christi, Texas, was working for elements of the Iranian government — specifically Iran’s elite military unit the Quds force — when he attempted to hire hitmen from the feared Zetas Mexican drug cartel to carry out the hit on the Saudi ambassador. Arbabsiar allegedly plotted to bomb a popular D.C. restaurant frequented by the ambassador. He didn’t know he’d been speaking to a DEA informant from the start. Arbabsiar originally pleaded not guilty to five counts, including conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction and conspiracy to murder a foreign official.”

>> WILL NETANYAHU TAKE ISRAEL TO FULL SCALE WAR? Read exclusive excerpts from new ebook, Israel At War

>> New e-book — Israel At War: Inside The Nuclear Showdown With Iran — now available on Kindle, Nook, other formats for $2,99 (includes sneak preview of material from forthcoming Damascus Countdown novel, as well)


It took a few days, but now more e-book sites have Israel At War: Inside The Nuclear Showdown With Iran.

  • You can get it on Barnes & Noble’s Nook — click here.
  • You can get it on Apple products like the iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, and Apple laptops — click here.
  • You can get it from Christian Book Distributors — click here.
  • You can get it on Amazon’s Kindle — click here.


In my new e-book, Israel At War: Inside The Nuclear Showdown With Iran, I reveal how the Netanyahu government is presently facing a multi-front series of attacks from Iran. The Iranian regime is using Hamas in Gaza to fire rockets and mortars and Israeli civilians. Tehran is using Hezbollah in Lebanon to spy on Israel and prepare for devastating missile attacks. Iran is also engaged in cyber-warfare against the Jewish State and is trying to thwart international economic sanctions to maintain oil sales, keep money flowing to the regime, and keep advancing its nuclear program. Thus, Israeli leaders are having to counter Iran and its agents through a range of means — military, covert, diplomatic and financial — even as they actively consider the possible need to launch a full-scale, all-out war on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

The latest headlines out of the Middle East provide fresh confirmation of what I write about in the new e-book. Consider the following:

  • ISRAEL STRIKES IRAN-BACK TERROR CELLS IN GAZA: “The IAF struck a rocket-launching cell in the central Gaza Strip on Sunday  evening soon after it fired projectiles at an Israeli farming district,” reports the Jerusalem Post. “Palestinian medical sources said the air strike killed two men and wounded two others. Israeli strikes killed a total of five global jihad members over the past 24 hours. ‘The terrorist cell which fired rockets into Israel a short while ago was targeted,’ the IDF Spokesman’s Office said, confirming the strike. ‘An accurate strike was identified.'”
  • ISRAEL CONFRONTS GROWING CYBER-WARFARE THREAT FROM IRAN: “Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu praised the IDF’s actions in  Gaza during Sunday’s weekly cabinet meeting, saying Israel would continue to act aggressively and with full strength both in response to attacks from Gaza, and to prevent others,” reported the Post. “In parallel, the prime minister said, the government was actively battling cyber attacks on the country’s computers. Netanyahu said  that he established a national cyber bureau last year to deflect such attacks. This cyber staff was working on stopping such attacks by  developing a ‘digital Iron Dome’ to defend against ‘computer terrorism,’ he  said. ‘Just as we have the Iron Dome against missiles and a security fence against infiltrators and terrorism, we will also have a similar response  to cyber attacks,’ Netanyahu said. ‘But just like the building of the fence, time is needed to complete it, and we are working on this non-stop.'”
  • NETANYAHU LAUDS NEW E.U. SANCTIONS ON IRAN, BUT SAYS THEY ARE NOT ENOUGH: “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the European Union Tuesday for tightening sanctions against Iran a day earlier, but added that restrictions have so far done little to get the regime to abandon its nuclear ambitions,” reports the Times of Israel. “Speaking to the ambassadors of EU member states in Israel, Netanyahu lauded the union for the ‘tough sanctions’ against what he called the ‘biggest threat to peace in our time.’ ‘These sanctions are hitting the Iranian economy hard, [but] they haven’t yet rolled back the Iranian program,’ he told the diplomats at the King David hotel in Jerusalem. ‘We’ll know that they’re achieving their goal when the centrifuges stop spinning and when the Iranian nuclear program is rolled back.'”

Now the question is: Will Netanyahu soon order his nation into a full scale, all-out war with Iran that could set the entire Middle East on fire? Knowing the answer requires exploring other key questions: Who is Benjamin Netanyahu? What does he believe? How does he see the Iranian regime and the intensifying nuclear crisis? Who is advising him? And how much time do they believe they have left to make a final decision? In the new ebook released this week by Tyndale, I look at each of these questions based on twelve years of observing Netanyahu and hours of interviews and conversations over the years with Netanyahu and his inner circle. I also look at how we got to this dangerous moment, the train wreck of U.S.-Israel relations, and where this all could lead historically and prophetically.

>> WILL NETANYAHU TAKE ISRAEL TO FULL SCALE WAR? Excerpts from new ebook, Israel At War