The Times of Israel reviews “Damascus Countdown” & hopes it doesn’t come true.










The Times of Israel recently reviewed Damascus Countdown.timesofisrael


By Ellis Shulman, Times of Israel

Israel launches a preemptive strike in Joel C. Rosenberg’s new novel, “Damascus Countdown”.

The war everyone has feared has begun. Israeli jets bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities. In retaliation, Iranian missiles are launched at Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, alongside massive rocket fire from Hezbollah and Hamas. The Arrow and Patriot anti-missile defense systems are put to the test. IDF ground troops move into Gaza and southern Lebanon, where they meet stiff resistance. There are casualties. Israelis wear gas masks as they sit nervously in their bomb shelters.

But there is more. The war described in Damascus Countdown, the latest political thriller by New York Times bestselling author Joel C. Rosenberg, takes place a short distance into the future. While Israel successfully destroys six Iranian nuclear warheads, there are still two left, unaccounted for. Iran, like most of the Islamic world, is led by a messianic zealot who won’t hesitate to drop an atomic bomb on the Zionist state to achieve his ultimate goal of ruling the world. A CIA operative is on the ground in Iran. His mission is to find the missing warheads and disarm them before they are launched at Tel Aviv.

Details of the war, and the behind-the-scenes political deliberations, are described so realistically that much of this novel could have been lifted straight from tomorrow’s front page headlines. The dangers that Israel faces in this work of fiction are very real, growing more threatening to the country’s existence every day.

Rosenberg has been described as a “modern Nostradamus” because his political thrillers have an uncanny way of coming true in some way, shape, or form. His second thriller, The Last Days, dealt with peace efforts in the aftermath of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat’s death. “Thirteen months after it was published, Arafat died, and two months later President Bush decided to make democracy in the Middle East the centerpiece of his second term agenda,” Rosenberg writes on his website. His book, The Last Jihad, was written 9 months before 9/11. The story is about terrorists flying a plane into a skyscraper in a major U.S. city.

Israeli and Jewish readers will not have an easy time reading Damascus Countdown, and it’s not only because of the many Israelis who lose their lives in its fictional war. The son of a Jewish father and a Gentile mother, Joel Rosenberg is an evangelical Christian with a passion to make disciples of all nations and teach Bible prophecy. His books can be categorized as Christian fiction, as faith and the fulfillment of Biblical prophecies play central roles in the plot.

Islam is described as an evil religion, and only true belief in Christianity can save the day for everyone. As a non-believer, I found it strange that undercover agents would read Scripture in preparation for operations, and that the only good Iranians in the book are those who have secretly converted to Christianity. But as long as Israel is saved from annihilation, I am not going to complain too loudly.

As former Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon says, Rosenberg is “a stalwart and faithful friend of Israel and a great writer. He understands the grave dangers posed by Iran and Syria, and he’s been a bold and courageous voice for true peace and security in the Middle East.”

I just hope that world leaders are intelligent enough to take the necessary actions to ensure that the deadly scenario portrayed in Damascus Countdown doesn’t come true.


Ellis Shuman is a writing professional who works in Ramat Gan. Born in Sioux City, Iowa, he made aliya to Jerusalem as a teenager, served in the IDF, was a founding member of a kibbutz, and now lives on Moshav Neve Ilan. Ellis is the author of ‘Valley of Thracians’ a suspense novel set in Bulgaria, and of ‘The Virtual Kibbutz,’ a collection of short stories set in Israel. Ellis lived with his wife for two years in Bulgaria, and blogs regularly about Israel, Bulgaria, books, and whatever else comes to mind.

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