(Central Israel) — The President of the United States has absolutely no idea what he is doing in the Middle East. Mr. Obama apparently has plenty of time to play golf. Yet he refuses to invest the time and energy necessary to come up with a plan to stop — much less defeat — ISIS, despite the genocidal attacks their forces are engaged in and the grave threat they pose to Israel and our Arab allies.
It is painful beyond words to behold the bloodthirsty brutality of the jihadists in the Middle East right now. But perhaps even more disturbing is the sight of an American president unable or unwilling to accurately assess the magnitude of the threat to America and our allies, and taking hesitant, awkward, vacillating half-measures in response.
The forces of radical Islam are on the move. In Syria, nearly 200,000 people are dead. Millions are on the run. In Iraq, the jihadists are slaughtering Muslims, Christians, and other minorities. In Gaza, the radicals have fired more than 4,000 rockets aimed at massacring Israeli civilians.
The jihadists may use different names (ISIS, Hamas, Islamic Jihad) and different tactics (rockets, tunnels, beheadings, crucifixions), but their goals are the same. Obliterate Israel. Topple our Arab allies. Establish an Islamic caliphate. Then launch a series of catastrophic attacks on the United States.
How is it possible that President Obama seems more interested in playing golf than in standing with our friends in the midst of a war that threatens our security too?
I have just returned from leading a solidarity trip to Israel. My colleagues and I witnessed the jihadist offensive firsthand. In the three days we were there, Hamas fired more than 300 rockets at Israeli cities, including Jerusalem. We heard the Code Red alerts go off. We experienced the adrenaline that comes with running to a bomb shelter. We met with Israeli Defense Force soldiers on the front lines near Gaza. We visited parents whose only son was kidnapped and murdered by these jihadists just weeks ago.
I was deeply impressed by the courage and resilience of the Israeli people in the face of this cruel enemy. I was blessed by seeing their immense love and appreciation for America, and particularly for U.S. funding of their miraculous Iron Dome rocket defense system. But I was also struck by how many Israelis privately expressed to me their growing fear that Obama does not seem to truly understand what is happening in the region, and isn’t sufficiently determined to defeat this enemy.
The president has told us repeatedly that “al-Qaeda is on the run” and “we have decimated al-Qaeda.” But his policies have actually allowed the jihadists to become stronger.
In 2011, I warned that the president’s foolish and reckless Iraq policy – especially his inability to build an effective working relationship with the Iraqi leadership and his decision to precipitously withdraw all U.S.
military forces by the end of that year – meant the United States would lose the war in Iraq, and create an environment into which other radical Islamic forces would be drawn. That now appears to be true.
There is a way to turn this around. The president should immediately:
Crush ISIS and prevent a caliphate. Hit them hard and relentlessly from the air. Pinpricks have slowed the ISIS advance, but is the president willing to accept a country in the heart of the Middle East governed by such Islamic radicals? Decisive air power is needed now.
Arm the Kurds. The Kurdish people in northern Iraq are fighting for their lives. They have long proven their friendship with America. They have demonstrated that they are a moderate, peaceful Muslim people. They have tried to create a safe haven for Christians and other minorities. Stand with them. Provide them with weapons of the amount and caliber that will truly help them defend their people.
Help the new Iraqi prime minister. Nouri al-Maliki is gone. Good. Haider al-Abadi is new but untested. Work with him. Show him and the Iraqi people that America has not cut them loose. Urge them to build an inclusive democracy that truly and fully welcomes and empowers Sunnis as well as Shias, along with Christians, Kurds, and all other minority groups. Provide Baghdad with real-time intelligence, as well as more military training and logistical support to regain the upper hand against the radicals.
Stand with Israel. John Kerry has been a disaster as secretary of state. Bring in a special envoy who treats Israel as a true friend and faithful American ally, not an irritant or obstacle to Mideast peace. Stop pressuring the Israelis to accept premature and deeply flawed ceasefire agreements. Stop halting or micromanaging the transfer of weapons to Israel that we have already promised them. Stand with the Israelis without hesitation or prevarication.
Support our Arab friends. The Egyptians, Jordanians, Saudis, and some in the Gulf know first-hand the threat posed by the radicals. They want to work with the United States to prevent the creation of a caliphate. They feel abandoned by this White House, which seems more focused on helping Hamas and placating Iran than on engaging friends.
Seal America’s southern border. Every day this administration refuses to stop people crossing from Mexico into the United States illegally, the more likely terrorists will use these routes to plant sleeper cells inside the homeland.
Turn up the heat on Iran. The most serious threat to America, Israel, and our Arab allies is a nuclear-armed Iran. The Iranians are playing this White House. They want a deal that allows them to keep all of their centrifuges and enrichment equipment, their stockpiles of uranium, and their capacity to race for a nuclear bomb within a matter of months. Say no. Implement tougher sanctions. Move more military assets into the Gulf region. Make clear there will be serious consequences if Iran continues to defy the international community.
American leadership in the Mideast matters for our national security. There is a window of time for America to regain the initiative and protect ourselves and our allies, but we need a leader who levels with the American people about the nature of the threat and the serious consequences of inaction. Mr. President, it is time to tee it up in the game that you were elected to play.
Rick Santorum, a former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania, is chairman of Patriot Voices and author of “Blue Collar Conservatives.” firstname.lastname@example.org
(Central Israel) — Last week, I had the opportunity to speak to and travel through Israel with two solidarity delegations from the United States. One was organized by former Senator Rick Santorum and included businessmen, journalists and evangelical Christian pastors from across the country. The other was led by Dr. Jerry Johnson, president & CEO of the National Religious Broadcasters and included highly-respected Christian leaders such as Anne Graham Lotz, Kay Arthur, Tony Perkins and Dr. Richard Land.
I shared some of our experiences on my blog last week. But I want to add a few thoughts upon having had time to reflect further on what I saw.
Senator Santorum and the NRB executives showed tremendous leadership by visiting Israel during a hot war. Each is a long-time friend of Israel, but this was above and beyond the call of duty. These principled men and women demonstrated true love and support for America’s number one ally in the Middle East. They came here even while hundreds of rockets were raining down on the Jewish state. They came when almost no one else was visiting the country. They visited troops on the frontlines. They visited Israelis personally scarred by Hamas terrorism. They met with high-level government officials. They met with everyday Israelis — Jews and Arabs — all over the country. They learned how the Iron Dome system works and saw its benefits. They heard the Code Red sirens go off. They ran to bomb shelters like everyone else. Most importantly, they studied the Scriptures together and prayed for the peace of Jerusalem and communicated what they saw and heard back to millions of Americans back home via radio, TV and newspaper interviews, as well as via Facebook and Twitter.
How many others did that over the past fifty days of this cruel war?
I don’t know whether Senator Santorum will run for President again. I know he did remarkably well in 2012, coming in second after Gov. Romney, after winning the Iowa caucuses and a total of 11 primaries and some four million votes. He’s not currently a declared candidate, and won’t make his decision about 2016 until sometime next year. Therefore, what impresses me is that he is standing up for what is right, right now. He didn’t come for a photo op. He came to better understand the crisis in the Middle East and explain it to the American people.
When Santorum was serving in the Senate, he took the lead in supporting Israel and advancing legislation to deal with the threats from Iran and Syria. Today, though he is out of office, he continues to demonstrate that he gets the importance of a strong US-Israel relationship; that he truly understands the threat Radical Islamic jihadists pose to the U.S., Israel and our Arab allies in the Middle East; that he sees the danger Christians, Jews and other minorities face in the epicenter. He has enormous experience on these issues, and it shows in the way he speaks about these issues and the policies for which he advocates. He’s willing to speak out in a bold, principled way, regardless of whether the establishment in Washington notices or cares, and regardless of whether the mainstream media notices or cares.
Good for him. I’m impressed and grateful. May his tribe increase.
Likewise, Dr. Jerry Johnson and the folks from NRB are acting as true Christian statesmen. They love and support Israel. But they also care deeply for the plight of the Palestinian people who are being traumatized by Hamas and being caught in the crossfire of this terrible, painful war. These Christian leaders aren’t succumbing to the moral relativism of the Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA) or other liberal, apostate denominations that have abandoned the Bible and the Scriptural call to bless Israel. They are standing on the Word of God, boldly and without apology.
Good for them. I’m impressed and grateful. May their tribe increase, as well.
One last thought for now: I strongly agree with the point Senator Santorum makes in his new op-ed (see below) — supporting Israel should not be a partisan issue. It should be a bipartisan commitment. Sadly, the President has brought US-Israel relations to its lowest point in 66 years. This deeply concerns me. That’s why I’m working on building friendships with Democrats as well as Republicans who support Israel and understand the issues here in the Middle East, or want to. To the extent time permits, I will do my best to help any leader who cares about these issues and is trying to do the right thing. That’s why I joined the Santorum and NRB delegations, and why I’ll help others in the future.
Please join me in thanking Rick, Jerry Johnson, and all who joined their delegations for showing true leadership and the courage of their convictions “at such a time as this.”
Op-ed in the Manchester (NH) Union Leader by former Senator Rick Santorum, published on August 27, 2014
On May 14, 1948, the United States of America was the first nation to officially recognize the newly reborn State of Israel. It was morally right and strategically wise that we did so, and we have been blessed as a nation ever since with a true friend in the Middle East.
It happened to be a Democrat, President Harry Truman, who understood the Jewish people’s right and need to return to their ancient homeland to be safe and free, especially in the wake of the Holocaust. To his great credit, Mr. Truman refused to follow the counsel of those in his own administration, even his own secretary of state, who said it was foolish for America to support a strong, safe and free Jewish state.
Yet while it was a Democrat in the White House who set into motion America’s alliance with Israel, it is another Democrat in the White House who has brought U.S.-Israel relations to their lowest point in 66 years.
This great alliance should not be a partisan issue. Indeed, support for Israel on Capitol Hill is one of the few issues that bring both parties together. Yet the President is an outlier, consistently creating new tensions and divisions with Israel, even while she is under attack by a virulent and ruthless enemy.
This should not be. Most Americans see Israel not simply as an ancient nation but a modern miracle, a true partner on many fronts, from manufacturing to agriculture to the development of state-of-the-art weapons systems like the Iron Dome. They also see a vibrant democracy and a real partner in the war with terrorists.
Yet it has become painfully apparent that our current President does not agree.
I came to Israel last week to show solidarity with her people and government, in part because I am embarrassed by the actions of my own government. The White House should never pressure an ally to accept flawed, biased ceasefire proposals in a war with terrorists who are hell-bent on annihilating them.
The U.S. government should never hold back arms from — or micromanage arms transfers to — an ally fighting for her life.
No administration should try to force an ally to divide her own capital city and surrender the sovereignty of that capital to an enemy sworn to obliterate her.
Nor should any administration leak to the media policy or personal disagreements with an ally, especially during war time.
Yet this is exactly what is happening.
The delegation of American business leaders, pastors and journalists I brought to Jerusalem join me in standing with Israel because we see a friend under attack and feeling increasingly alone. While we were there, Hamas fired more than 150 rockets at Israeli civilian population centers, bringing their total rocket attacks to more than 4,000 in the past seven weeks. My colleagues and I were in Jerusalem on Tuesday evening when the Code Red sirens sounded. A rocket was headed for the Holy City and we had to rush into bomb shelters with our Israeli friends. Yet the world repeatedly criticizes and condemns Israel for exercising her right to self-defense.
Imagine if Washington, D.C., or St. Louis or San Diego were under rocket attack. Would we not strike back hard and relentlessly at those firing the rockets? Would we take kindly to foreign leaders who told us to stop defending ourselves even as the terrorists kept shooting at us?
The most moving part of our visit was meeting with the precious parents of Gil’Ad Shaer, one of the teenage boys Hamas kidnapped and murdered in June. As we sat in their home we heard their story and saw their grief. But we also saw their determination not to let the jihadists destroy their country or their hope for the future.
America must stand with such brave souls. After all, Israel’s fight against radical Islam is our fight too. If we do not defeat the terrorists in the Mideast, they will strike America at home.
Our commitment to Israel does not mean we are blind to the pain and challenges the Palestinians in Gaza face. To the contrary, we care deeply about them and seek their freedom from tyranny.
The Palestinians of Gaza absolutely need to be liberated….from the cruel occupation of Hamas. The Palestinians of Gaza need to be set free from Hamas’ reign of terror and barbarity. This should be a major priority of the U.S. government.
Unfortunately, American foreign policy today is in complete disarray. Incompetence reigns in the White House and State Department and has for six years. Our friends no longer trust us. Our enemies no longer fear us. This is a recipe for disaster.
“Leading from behind” is not leadership at all. The President’s steady retreat from the Mideast is creating a dangerous vacuum jihadist forces are moving to fill from Syria to Iraq to Gaza.
We can and must do better. Democrats should start by putting serious pressure on the President to truly and fully support Israel and to stop pressuring her to make bad deals with dangerous foes. Republicans can start by repudiating isolationist voices in our party and those who call for ending all military aid to Israel.
Now is the time to stand unified for Israel.
Rick Santorum is a former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania and candidate for the Republican presidential nomination.
(Central Israel) — Today is Day #50 is Hamas’ war against the people of Israel. Thus far, Hamas and its Radical Islamic terrorist allies have fired 4,450 rockets, missiles and mortars at Israeli civilians, both Jews and Arabs.
Yet in the last hour or so, Hamas and Israel have agreed to a new ceasefire deal, one that was negotiated by the Al-Sissi government in Egypt.
Admittedly, this is the 12th ceasefire deal in the past seven weeks. Hamas has broken 11 of them. So there is not a great deal of confidence here in Israel that the true quiet and calm has come.
That said, we are certainly hoping and praying that this quiet will come at last. We are cautious, and somewhat skeptical, but we’re trying not to be cynical. We all want peace to come. Where Lynn and the boys and I live, we have been spared the rocket fire. But Israelis living in the south have been under relentless attack. They are brave and determined. But many of them are exhausted as well. Not since the Nazis fired rockets at London during World War II have civilian populations been under such relentless rocket attack. The sooner this ends — with as few casualties as possible — the better.
What has been extraordinary is to see how the Lord God of Israel has been so kind and gracious to the Israeli people during this time. There have been deaths, and injuries, to be sure. But if it weren’t for the Lord’s mercy and the miraculous Iron Dome system, this could have been a horrific massacre of the Jewish people. And it wasn’t.
The Israeli people have much to be thankful for, and I hope and pray that Israel’s Prime Minister and other leaders will call the nation to give thanks to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob for His many blessings.
Here are the latest details on the cease-fire. I’ll post more details and analysis in the days ahead.
“Israel and the Palestinians agreed to an Egyptian proposal for a cease-fire to end Gaza hostilities which went into effect at 7 p.m. Israeli time on Tuesday,” reports the Jerusalem Post. “Despite the Egyptian announcement of the cease-fire, red alert sirens continued to be heard in Israel’s southern communities after 7 p.m. An Israeli was killed by one of dozens of mortar shells fired at the Eshkol Regional Council just before the cease-fire was set to commence.”
“Senior Israeli officials said that the cabinet ministers were updated by phone that Israel would accept the cease-fire,” the Post reported. “The eight-person security cabinet was briefed on the decision to accept the cease-fire, but not asked to vote on it. The Egyptian proposal which the sides agreed to entails an unlimited cease-fire letting material in to rehabilitate Gaza under supervision. In addition, each side will raise other demands within a month. The announcement came after Palestinian officials had earlier stated that a deal had been reached to end the nearly two months of fighting.”
I joined the NRB delegation in Jerusalem today as part of their solidarity visit to Israel.
Visiting the Prime Minister’s office.
(Jerusalem, Israel) — The last 48 hours have seen a dramatic surge of violence here in Israel, and horrific atrocities throughout the epicenter. At the moment it is 2:15 in the morning here, the beginning of Day #46.
Here is the latest:
Hamas and its allies have fired more than 320 rockets at Israel since Tuesday night when it broke its 11th ceasefire agreement.
This represents one of the largest surges of violence in the past 46 days.
Israeli officials warn Hamas could become desperate and launch a wave of attacks inside of Israel if they have sleeper cells inside the country.
Meanwhile, senior Israeli sources are telling us they believe Hamas is down to the last 25% of their rocket arsenal.
They started with about 9,000 to 10,000 rockets. They have fired about 4,000 so far. The IDF believes it has destroyed another 3,500 or so through airstrikes and its recent ground campaign. That leaves an estimated 2,500 or so.
On another front, ISIS has beheaded an American journalist, James Foley, after failing to receive the $100 million-plus ransom they were demanding.
ISIS continues beheading and crucifying Christians and Muslims in Syria and Iraq.
Increasingly, U.S. officials see ISIS preparing to attack Americans directly in the homeland.
“ISIS today represents a direct and growing threat to the United States,” reports National Journal. “It has attracted an estimated 12,000 foreign fighters to its black banner flying over Syrian and Iraqi territory, including hundreds of Europeans and Americans who can travel freely with Western passports. It has a bigger sanctuary, far more money, and is more indiscriminately murderous than al-Qaida was on Sept. 10, 2001. ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has assured anyone who will listen that he eventually intends to direct his jihad at the United States, telling the U.S. soldiers who released him from prison in 2009, ‘I’ll see you in New York.'”
“They are an imminent threat to every interest we have, whether it’s in Iraq or anywhere else,” Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told reporters at the Pentagon,” reports Reuters. Asked if the hardline Sunni Muslim organization posed a threat to the United States comparable to that of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Hagel said it was “as sophisticated and well-funded as any group we have seen.”
The U.S. has launched more than 90 airstrikes against ISIS forces in northern Iraq to keep them from taking over the region known as “Kurdistan,” a key friend of America inside Iraq.
Meanwhile, the death toll in Syria’s horrific civil war has climbed past 190,000 people.
Amidst this Radical Islamic rampage in the Middle East, I have been deeply encouraged by the fact that some two-dozen American pastors, evangelical leaders, journalists and businessmen chose to spend this week here in Israel. They came to show their deep love and support for Israel and the Jewish people, as well as to speak out against the reign of terror Hamas is imposing on the Palestinians in Gaza, and I am so glad they did.
One delegation was led by former Senator and presidential candidate Rick Santorum, founder of a grassroots action group called Patriot Voices, and a long-time friend of mine. My son, Caleb, and I spent three days with them, meeting with senior Israeli officials to discuss the latest developments, visiting IDF soldiers less than a mile from the border of Gaza, meeting with Israeli civilians who have suffered first hand from Hamas terrorism, receiving a briefing on the miraculous Iron Dome rocket defense system, visiting Biblical sites, reading the Scriptures, and praying for the peace of Jerusalem, as we are commanded in Psalm 122:6. We were scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu at his office on Wednesday. Unfortunately, the PM had to cancel due to a hastily scheduled Security Cabinet meeting in Tel Aviv to determine a response to the sudden surge of violence which began on Tuesday evening. Instead, we met with Dr. Jonathan Schachter, a senior foreign affairs advisor to Mr. Netanyahu, who gave us a briefing on the latest situation and took our questions. Then, on Wednesday evening, we all concluded with a farewell dinner and Caleb and I saw the group off at Ben Gurion International Airport as they prepared to fly home.
The other delegation was led by Dr. Jerry Johnson, executive director of the National Religious Broadcasters. It included Bible teachers and Christian leaders such as Anne Graham Lotz, Kay Arthur, Tony Perkins and Dr. Richard Land, among others. I was humbled and grateful that Dr. Johnson invited me to spend today with his group to do interviews for their various radio and TV programs and brief them on the latest geopolitical and spiritual trend lines in Israel and the region, as well as to hear a fascinating briefing by one of the senior Israeli engineers who invented the Iron Dome system. The group arrived on Monday and flew back to the States tonight.
It is always a wonderful thing when Christian leaders come here and show their love and support to the Israeli people. But it took special courage and commitment to come here during a hot war when rockets are flying. Each member of both delegations experienced the Code Red sirens first hand and had to run to bomb shelters. Yet they refused to become fearful and instead counted it an honor to be with Israelis through this enormous challenge and try to better understand what people here have faced for the past 45 days straight.
During my briefing to the NRB delegation, I shared several points from my recent speech in Iowa. I also shared several new observations based on the fast-moving developments in the epicenter. Let me share just a few for now.
An evil wind is blowing. From Syria to Iraq to Gaza, we see the jihadists on offense — they’re killing Christians, Jews and moderate Muslims.
The beheading of American journalist by ISIS an atrocity and a wake up call. The Jihadists aren’t just going after Israel or the Iraqis — they’re coming for us, too.
We are beginning to reap the harvest of the President’s policy of retreat, weakness, vacillation & golf. Radical Islam is on the move.
America must not abandon friends like Israel, Jordan & the Kurds. We must bravely stand with them against the forces of darkness & barbarism.
More on this soon.
In the meantime, here is the text of the NRB press release that was issued several days before the delegation arrived.:
Leaders of the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) leave for Israel this Sunday at the invitation of the Israel Ministry of Tourism.
NRB President and CEO Dr. Jerry A. Johnson will lead the diverse group of Christian leaders, whose purpose in the trip is to support the people and leadership of Israel and the right of Israel to defend itself as a nation.
Dr. Richard Land, president of Southern Evangelical Seminary, is one of many noted evangelical leaders joining the team. “I think it’s important that we show solidarity with Israel, especially with the rising tide of anti-Semitism in the world,” he tells OneNewsNow.
Land says the group will talk with Israeli leaders as well as Palestinians who have been victimized by Hamas.
“They’re using them as human shields,” he says of Palestinians, pointing out there is disagreement between Palestinians in the West Bank and those in Gaza. Many support Israel, he says.
In a statement, Johnson said the trip will “communicate to Israel and to the Palestinians who stand in opposition to Hamas that we, leaders who represent the Christian community, stand with them.”
The NRB “Christians in Solidarity with Israel” trip is August 17 through 22.
Standing with Sen. Rick Santorum near the border of Gaza on Tuesday.
With the Santorum delegation at the Western Wall on Monday.
Meeting with Amb. Dore Gold, senior advisor to the PM, and giving him a copy of “The Auschwitz Escape.”
(Jerusalem, Israel) — Greetings from Israel. Thank you so much for your prayers and notes of encouragement. Please keep praying for the peace of Jerusalem and all of Israel. Please mobilize family and friends to pray more. Events are moving rapidly here.
This is the 11th time Hamas and its terrorist allies have done so.
They began firing rockets in the late afternoon here.
On Tuesday evening, Hamas launched a massive barrage of rockets at southern and central Israel, including Jerusalem, more than 50 rockets in less than two hours.
In response, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu ordered devastating new airstrikes at Hamas targets in Gaza.
The IDF is re-mobilizing on the borders of Gaza.
Media reports here say the IDF is preparing for a possible new ground invasion.
Lynn and the boys and I arrived here in the Land on Friday night after making Aliyah. We moved into our apartment and spent the weekend doing errands, going to church and beginning to get settled in.
Then on Monday, I met my friend Senator Rick Santorum’s Solidarity Delegation as they arrived at Ben Gurion Airport for a several day visit to stand with the embattled people of Israel. The delegation includes American businessmen, pastors and journalists, most of whom have never visited Israel before. My eldest son, Caleb, is also with me for these few days.
We had the honor to visiting the parents of Gil’Ad Shaer, one of the Israeli Jewish teenagers who was kidnapped and murdered by Hamas in June, an event that set into motion this current war.
We met with and received a briefing from Amb. Dore Gold, senior foreign policy advisor to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu.
We visited the Gaza border, soldiers, and an Iron Dome installation and received briefings on the latest developments from military officials.
We visited Biblical sites such as the Mount of Olives, the City of David excavations, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and the Western Wall.
For a detailed update on what we’ve been doing, please review my Twitter account for the last few days. I’ll post more details, insights and pictures in the days ahead.
For now, let me post the press release that the Senator issued that explains the delegation’s objectives.
(Verona, Pennsylvania) — Former U.S. Senator, former Republican presidential candidate and Chairman of Patriot Voices Rick Santorum will travel to Israel on Sunday, August 17, for a 3-day mission with prominent conservative and business leaders.
The trip will focus on three goals:
To show solidarity with the State of Israel – with her courageous people and leaders – who are engaged in a fight for their lives and freedom against the twin evils of Radical Islam and Repugnant Anti-Semitism.
To reaffirm the moral and strategic imperative of maintaining a strong, close, enduring U.S.-Israeli alliance.
To pray for the peace of Jerusalem and all who live in the Middle East.
The trip will be mainly in Jerusalem and also include a visit to an Iron Dome facility. The delegation will make visits to Mount of Olives, City of David, Mount Herzl Military Cemetery and other sites.
Senator Santorum and the delegation will meet with Israel government and military leaders, Israeli soldiers, local residents directly affected by the violence, religious leaders, and Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer.
The delegation will include:
Pastor Douglas M. Bankson, Pastor (Florida)
Dr. Mark T. Barclay, Pastor (Michigan)
Former Congressman Gresham Barrett (South Carolina)
Simon Conway, WHO radio host (Iowa)
Foster Friess, Businessman (Wyoming)
Pastor Cary Gordon, Cornerstone World Outreach (Iowa)
Quin Hillyer, nationwide columnist and writer (Alabama)
Greg Rothman, businessman (Pennsylvania)
Bob Vander Plaats, President of The Family Leader (Iowa)
Joel C. Rosenberg, author, will join the delegation upon arrival in Israel.
“This trip will be an important opportunity as representatives of the American people to show our solidarity with the people of Israel. Our goal is to tell Israel’s leaders and its people that Americans support them despite President Obama’s inconsistent rhetoric and actions regarding their country,” said Senator Santorum.
Senator Santorum served in the U.S. Senate from 1995-2007. He was a leader on U.S.-Israeli affairs, advancing American interests in the Middle East, and standing against the forces of Radical Islam and tyranny. He authored both the “Syria Accountability Act” and the “Iran Freedom and Support Act.” He also served eight years on the Senate Armed Services Committee where he led the fight before the attacks of September 11th, 2001 to transform our military from a Cold War force to meet today’s threats.
In addition, Santorum led the Program to Protect America’s Freedom at the Ethics and Public Policy Center from 2007 until 2011. The program focused on raising awareness about the threats to America from anti-western groups.
(Washington, D.C.) — Right now, we are witnessing horrific war and bloodshed and lawlessness in the epicenter. We are seeing some of the worst persecution in the modern history of the Middle East unfold before our eyes. Radical Islamic extremists are crucifying and beheading Christians, forcing followers of Christ to convert or die, driving Christians from their homes and looting all their possessions. This is particularly true in Iraq and Syria, where genocidal conditions are emerging.
Much of the world is silent, but the Church must not be. We must stand with our brothers and sisters in Christ — pray for them, love them, stand with them, encourage them, and help them in every practical way we can. We also need to love and care for Muslims and others who are being mercilessly attacked by the Radicals. They are sheep without a shepherd, harassed and helpless.
We must urge world leaders to take decisive actions to stop the advances of the Radicals and do everything to defeat these forces of evil and wickedness and protect the innocent.
We must also give Christians in the region the opportunity to speak to the rest of the world, to tell us what they are facing and how we can help.
On Tuesday, I had the opportunity to interview by phone a dear Iraqi pastor who loves Jesus Christ and is right in the middle of the crisis. I’ve known him for years. As founder and Chairman of The Joshua Fund, I’ve had the opportunity to visit Iraq four times to encourage him and other Iraqi pastors and Christian lay leaders, hold pastors retreats, provide humanitarian relief, and so forth. Our team and I decided to do this interview to help our brother speak to you directly, so you could hear his voice and his heart and get a glimpse of the enormous dangerous and pressures he and other Christians face inside Iraq at this hour.
Then please take time to pray for this humble, faithful pastor, and his family, and the flock he shepherds. Please pray, too, for the many, many families who are fleeing from the Radicals and coming to him for shelter.
At the same, let’s maintain a Biblical perspective on all that’s happening. Bible prophecy warns us that such terrible things are going to happen in the last days before the return of Christ. Indeed, they are signs that the return of Jesus and the establishment of His kingdom is getting closer. Therefore, as we study the Scriptures, let us not lose heart. Rather, let us be motivated to love our neighbors, and love our enemies, and care for the persecuted church in the Middle East and around the world. We may not have the power on our own to stop such evil. But we can help our brothers and sisters to stand firm in the Lord, and be to brave in sharing the Gospel and to show compassion to the helpless, and to be true lights in the darkness.
Consider the following Scriptures:
“As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, ‘Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?’ And Jesus answered and said to them, ‘See to it that no one misleads you. For many will come in My name, saying, “I am the Christ,” and will mislead many. You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end.For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes.But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs. Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name.At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another.Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many.Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold.But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:4-14)
“Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming.But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into.For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will.” (Matthew 24:42-44)
“But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats;and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in;naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink?And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You?When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’ Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels;for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink;I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” (Matthew 25:31-46)
Greetings from Northern Virginia! We hope you are enjoying the Lord and this beautiful summer.
Lynn and I are writing to share with you several significant changes in our lives. We are excited about them and we would deeply appreciate your prayers.
First, we are moving to Israel as a family. For the last several years, we have sensed God calling us to immigrate to the land of Israel (to “make Aliyah”) and follow the path of our forefathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Based on my Jewish roots on my father’s side, the State of Israel has granted us citizenship. We are now dual citizens of the United States and Israel, and are deeply grateful to the Lord for making this possible in His timing and by His grace.
So, after twenty-four years living in the Washington, D.C. area, we have packed our bags, rented out our home, and are moving to Israel. We have rented and outfitted an apartment there and will soon begin the process of intensive Hebrew study. Lord willing, I will continue to write books, write Flash Traffic and blog updates, and do media interviews from there. I also look forward to returning to the States on a regular basis for book tours, board meetings, and speaking events.
It’s going to be a game-changer for all of us, and it’s going to be difficult to leave family and friends whom we love so much. That said, the boys are excited about this new adventure God is taking us on, and so are we. We know it’s going to be very challenging to assimilate into a different culture — and to become fluent in a new language — but we’re eager to obey the Lord and get started.
Second, we are excited about changes taking place at The Joshua Fund. As many of you know, Lynn and I founded TJF in 2006 to educate Christians about God’s love and plan for Jews and Arabs in the Middle East; mobilize Christians to pray for and invest in God’s work in the epicenter; strengthen the Church in the region; and care for the needy and vulnerable. It has been such a wonderful and rewarding eight years and now we are eager to serve in new ways.
Last December, I stepped down as President and CEO of TJF so I could devote more time to my numerous other responsibilities, and prepare for this transition to Israel. The board was very supportive of that decision and the Lord has provided a solid, competent and experienced leadership team to guide the ministry on a day-to-day basis.
Lynn and I plan to stay fully engaged with the organization as founders and Board members, and I have recently accepted the Board’s appointment as TJF Chairman. In this capacity, I will continue to: 1) mobilize Christians around the world to bless Israel and her neighbors in the name of Jesus; 2) participate in key TJF events (prayer and vision trips, Epicenter Conferences, pastors’ conferences/retreats, etc.); and 3) promote the work and heart of TJF internationally.
Moving to Israel during a war may seem crazy to some, but we are at peace that this is what the Lord is calling us to do. Indeed, we count it an honor to stand with our Israeli and Palestinian friends to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, as the Psalmist commands. Our hearts grieve for those on both sides of the border who are suffering because of this war, and we want to serve them and care for them in any way we can. The Lord Jesus said in Matthew 5:9, “Blessed are the peacemakers.” We trust the Lord will show us how in some small way we can serve Him in a Land still so in need of His grace and peace.
We’re so glad to be able to share with you this update now that our path forward has become clearer. Again, we would deeply appreciate your prayers for wisdom and discernment, for courage and strength, and patience and joy through the many challenges that lie ahead. We’d also be grateful for your grace and patience in this season ahead as we try to adjust to an entirely new life, new time zones, and the challenges of communicating from so far away.
On behalf of Lynn and the boys, let me conclude by saying that we love you so much and we’re so grateful for your kindness and your faithful prayers. God bless you.
(Washington, D.C.) — On July 31st, I first published this column. The response has been very encouraging, but I believe many more Christians need to hear this message, so I’m publishing it again. Please share it with others, and encourage each other to love Israelis and Palestinians, not just one side or the other. Thanks, and may the Lord bless you as you love both in the name of Jesus.
As the war in Gaza continues, here’s an important question for Christians: Is the Church doing enough to love the people who are suffering in the epicenter, in obedience to the Scriptures?
Now more than ever, is it vital for Christian leaders and lay people to speak out in solidarity with Israel — and even go visit Israel soon — as Jews and Arabs defend themselves against Radical Islam. Day after day, Israel is facing not only an onslaught of terrorism but an evil double-standard. Israeli citizens have absorbed more than 2,800 rocket attacks [UPDATE: now the number is over 3,400] and numerous terror squads who have come from the Gaza Strip to murder innocent men, women and children. Yet rather than receive encouragement from world democracies who see a fellow democracy under attack, much of the world is turning against Israel. Anti-Semitic attacks are skyrocketing, especially in Europe. Israel is being condemned at the U.N., blasted by world leaders, and even pressured by our President and Secretary of State to immediately stop defending themselves and accept a premature ceasefire.
This is morally wrong. Indeed, it is unconscionable and indefensible. Israel not only has the right but the responsibility to defend its citizens, both Jews and Arabs and those of other ethnicities. In fighting the terrorists sworn to obliterate her, Israel is doing what any civilized democracy would do. It is tragic that civilians in Gaza are being killed and injured. But Israel isn’t targeting them. They are warning them to get out of the way — using text messages, phone calls, leaflets and other measures. It is Hamas who is using civilians as human shields. It is Hamas who wants as many Palestinians to die as possible, hoping this will cause the world to turn even further against Israel. Israel must do everything it can to prevent the loss of innocent life. They must set the highest possible standard. But Hamas bears ultimate responsibility for all the death and destruction. This war wouldn’t be happening if Hamas wasn’t attacking Israel day after day.
The Bible is clear how much God loves the Jewish people. From Genesis to Revelation, the Scriptures are clear that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob has a great plan and purpose for the nation of Israel. And the Lord calls all of us to love Israel and the Jewish people, not because they are perfect, but because He loves them and wants them to know Him in a real and personal and intimate way. In Genesis 12:3, the Lord God says, “I will bless those who bless thee, and curse those who curse thee.” Which side do you want to be on? I want to be on the side of blessing Israel, in obedience to the Lord. Followers of Jesus Christ should pray for the peace of Jerusalem and all of Israel. But we should also speak out in her defense. We should stand up against the injustice and evil she is being subjected to. We should stand with her people who are under attack hour by hour, and show unconditional love and unwavering support.
My wife and four sons and I are leaving for Israel on August 14th. Indeed, we would leave earlier if we could, but this is the soonest we can depart. We look forward to spending time with Israelis and Palestinians, to pray with them, to serve them and encourage them, especially at such a time as this. I’ll write more about that soon.
May the Lord guide you to travel to Israel as soon as possible, and give you great wisdom, safety and sensitivity as you go.
At the same time, it is vital for Christian leaders and lay people to show compassion towards Palestinians who are being crushed and oppressed by Hamas. The Bible is clear: God loves the Jews, but He also loves the Arabs. Jesus, as a Jew living in Israel, commanded His followers to “love your neighbor” and “love your enemy.” He traveled to Lebanon and ministered to the people there. He traveled across the Jordan River, and ministered to the people there. In the Book of Acts, we read that He sent one of His servants to minister to people on the road to Gaza. Christians are commanded to love the Arab people not because they are perfect, but because He loves them and wants them to know Him in a real and personal and intimate way. So while Christians are to love Israel and bless the Jewish people, we are not to stop there. We are to love the Palestinian Arab people, as well.
It is important for Christians to know the facts and keep the current conflict in perspective. In 2005, Israel withdrew all its military forces from Gaza. The people of Gaza were free. They could have built great schools and a growing economy and seaside resorts. But Hamas took control of the Strip in 2006 and began to suffocate and oppress the Palestinian people. Hamas turned Gaza into a terrorist base camp. They have murdered those who speak out against them. They have enslaved the people. They have triggered three wars. They don’t care about the welfare of the Palestinian people. They only care about establishing a Radical Islamic caliphate and killing anyone who gets in their way. To love the Palestinian people, then, is to want them to be set free from the Hamas reign of terror.
Far too many Christians are saying that all Palestinians are all terrorists. As I’ve written before, this is not true — it’s unbiblical and unfair. There are many Palestinian moderates. Indeed, there are a growing number of truly born-again Palestinian Christians. I’ve many hundreds of them and count them as friends. What’s more, the most recent credible polls show most Palestinians in Gaza turning against Hamas, wanting a ceasefire, wanting calm and stable relations with Israel and even wanting to work in Israel. To love the Palestinian people, then, is to understand that there are a wide range of religious, political and philosophical views amongst them. Just as we shouldn’t see all Jews as the same, so we shouldn’t see all Palestinians as the same.
Now is the time for Christians to be praying for the Palestinian people — in Gaza, and on the West Bank. But don’t simply pray. Speak out for their liberation from Hamas and Radical Islam. Stand against the injustice and evil they have been suffering. Call on world leaders to stand against Hamas, and for the freedom and opportunity of the Palestinian people. And encourage Arab and Jewish followers of Jesus Christ to be able to preach the Gospel of freedom and forgiveness and eternal life to all Palestinians, as well as all Israelis.
It is not advisable to visit Gaza at this time, of course. But I would encourage Christian leaders who are visiting Israel to be sure to visit Palestinians as well — not to discuss politics, perhaps not even to discuss the war, but to show them you love them, you can for them, and you want to stand with them for peace in troubled times.
(Ames, Iowa) — It was an honor to be invited to speak at the 2014 Family Leadership Summit here in Ames, Iowa, and to spend personal time with many of the speakers and grassroots leaders who attended.
Most of the speakers were Governors, Senators, Congressman and potential presidential contenders. The covered a range of economic, social and foreign policy issues. I was specifically invited to speak about “The Future of America, Israel & the Middle East In Light of the Scriptures.”
The following are the notes I used for my address. I hope you find them helpful. Please feel free to pass them on to others, including leaders and future leaders. Note that this is not a verbatim transcript. But please feel free to watch or listen to my remarks, which were based on these notes.
THE FUTURE OF AMERICA, ISRAEL & THE MIDDLE EAST IN LIGHT OF THE SCRIPTURES
Good morning. It is an honor to be back in Iowa, and to address The Family Leadership Summit. Thanks to Bob Vander Plaats and his team for inviting me back, especially at a time of great crisis for our country, and for Israel and our allies in the Middle East, who are facing a jihadist rampage.
When I was here for the first Summit in 2012, I made two simple points.
I’d like to recap them here because I think they remain relevant for where we are as a nation two years later. And then I’d like to add a third point for this year.
America is not simply in decline. We are on the road to collapse, on the road to implosion.
We must all ask ourselves a critically important question: “Is America at a Jonah moment, or a Nahum moment?”
What happens if — on top of all our nation’s challenges and sins — America abandons or turns against Israel?
I’m so grateful that Bob and his team are doing all they can to call Iowans and all Americans to pray and fast and seek the Lord for a Third Great Awakening. We need this more than ever.
Let me now share a bit more on each point.
1. America is not simply in decline. We are heading for collapse, for implosion.
There are many reasons for this, including a massive and crushing national debt with no end in sight, the implosion of families through divorce and out-of-wedlock-birth and the assault on traditional marriage, violent crime, drug use, pornography and so forth. I wrote about this in more detail in my 2012 non-fiction book, Implosion: Can America Recover From Its Economic & Spiritual Challenges In Time?, so I won’t take the time today to go through each of these issues in detail.
But I do want to discuss one threat above all: America faces the implosion because we face divine judgment for murdering so many unborn children.
Several years ago, I had the opportunity to visit Auschwitz, the Nazi death camp in Poland. As I stood in an actual gas chamber that was used to systematically murder so many Jews, political prisoners and others, it was a horrifying experience. I’m Gentile on my mother’s side, and Jewish on my father’s side, and standing there thinking about how the Nazis created these murder factories to kill six million Jews was one of the most painful experiences of my life.
But as I stood in that gas chamber, I could not help but think of how my own country, America — a country I love so dearly — has created murder factories to kill millions of people, as well. I was born in 1967. In my lifetime — since 1973 — the American people have legally murdered more than 55 million babies. If this is not stopped soon, we will reach 60 million. Think about that. If we really get to the point that our nation has systematically murdered 60 million human beings, we will have murdered 10 times more people than the Nazis killed of the Jews.
Now we know how God judged Germany and the Nazi regime through a crushing defeat in World War II, and we believe that the Nazis deserved such judgment. What do we think is going to happen if continue to murder millions of children? We are going to face the judgment of God. It is extraordinary that it hasn’t happened already.
There is hope, but we are running out of time. We could repent as a nation. We could turn from our wicked ways, plead with God and His Son the Lord Jesus Christ to forgive our sins, and plead with Him to heal our land.
The Bible says, “If My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)
This was specifically a promise given to the nation of Israel in the Old Testament. But it is a principle we can apply today. We could plead with God for forgiveness, and He could grant it. He could give us a sweeping series of revivals that could culminate in a Third Great Awakening, with hundreds of millions of Americans — beginning with the Church — repenting of our sins, turning to Christ, praying, fasting, reading God’s Word and seeking to walk in the power of the Holy Spirit.
This is possible. There is hope. But again, we are running out of time.
But let’s be clear: Without a revival, we are on the road to implosion. Indeed, the threat of implosion is far beyond what the next President can solve alone — we desperately need a Third Great Awakening.
2. We must all ask ourselves a critically important question: “Is America at a Jonah moment, or a Nahum moment?”
In the Old Testament book of Jonah, the Hebrew prophet was sent by the Lord to the wicked city of Nineveh — the capital of the Assyrian empire — in order to preach a message of imminent judgment. Let’s not focus for the moment on the fact that Jonah didn’t want to obey the Lord and preach this messsage, and thus fled on a ship headed in the other direction.
For now, let’s focus on the fact that when Jonah finally did obey the Lord and did start preaching in Ninevah, he didn’t call the people to repentance. Rather, Jonah declared, “Forty days and Ninevah will be overthrown.” (Jonah 3:4) However, even though Jonah never called the people to plead to the One True God of Israel to have mercy on their souls and on their city, even though Jonah never called on the people to beg for forgiveness and turn away from their wickedness, that is, in fact, exactly what the Ninevites did.
The text says: “Then the people of Ninevah believed in God; and they called a fast and put on sackcloth from the greatest to the least of them. When the word reached the king of Ninevah, he arose from his throne, laid aside his robe from him, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat on the ashes. He issued a proclamation and it said, ‘In Ninevah by the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let man, beast, herd, or flock taste a thing. Do not let them eat or drink water. But both man and beast must be covered with sackcloth; and let men call on God earnestly that each may turn from his wicked way and from the violence which is in his hands. Who knows, God may turn and relent and withdraw His burning anger so that we shall not perish?’” (Jonah 3:5-9)
Sure enough, the Lord heard the earnest prayers of the people — and their king — as they repented, and He relented. “When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them. And He did not do it.” The promised judgment did not come. The people and their city were spared from God’s wrath. What an extraordinary moment. The pagan people heard the word of the Lord and it burned in their hearts. They believed God’s word, pleaded for mercy, and the Lord gave them mercy, even though He had never indicated that He would do so.
But this was not the only time the word of the Lord came to the people of Ninevah.
Many years later, the next generation of Ninevites had abandoned the Lord and fallen back into tremendous evil, violence, bloodshed, lies, sorcery and other wickedness. In the Old Testament book of Nahum, we read that the Lord again spoke to the people of Ninevah, this time through a different Hebrew prophet, this one named Nahum. Yet this time the people of Ninevah did not repent. They did not listen to God’s word. They did not plead for mercy. They did not turn from their wicked ways and start praying, fasting and begging God for mercy. And thus, mercy did not come. Instead, the judgment of God came upon the people, and in 612 B.C. the city of Ninevah was utterly destroyed.
Today we as Americans must confront this question: Is America in a “Jonah” moment, or a “Nahum” moment? That is, will we hear the word of the Lord that we have strayed far from the teachings of the Bible and allowed our land to become polluted with abortions and pornography and violence and wickedness of all kinds? Will we admit how far we are from God’s plan and purpose for our lives? Will we confess that our hearts are far from Jesus Christ and plead with the Lord for His mercy and grace and forgiveness? Will we fast and pray and earnestly seek God’s face, and implore Christ to give us a Third Great Awakening? Or will we ignore the word of the Lord and continue in our sins and watch our nation continue to decline, or even implode?
Twice in American history we have seen sweeping spiritual revivals known as the Great Awakening and the Second Great Awakening, respectively. Millions of Americans repented of their sins during those seasons, became devout followers of Jesus Christ, began to read the Bible voraciously and to obey the word of the Lord. Nowhere in Scripture, however, has America been promised a spiritual revival in the 21st century, much less one that would be so sweeping, so game-changing that it would qualify as a Third Great Awakening. But who knows? Perhaps the Lord will show us tremendous mercy and forgiveness if we all humble ourselves and pray, and seek His face, and turn from our wicked ways? However, if we don’t repent and turn back to the Lord Jesus Christ, we may very well consign ourselves to suffer the fate of the Ninevites during the time of Nahum.
3. What happens if — on top of all our nation’s challenges and sins — America abandons or turns against Israel?
The fate of America, Israel and the Middle East are inextricably linked for three reasons.
Consider three passages of Scripture:
Genesis 12:3 — In Genesis 12, the Lord God chooses Abram, calls him out of Ur of the Chaldees (located in modern-day Iraq, 220 miles southeast of Baghdad) to go to “a land that I will show you,” which turns out to be the land later called Israel. The Lord promises to bless Abram, and through him bless “all the families of the earth.” Specifically in 12:3, the Lord says, “I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” As one reads through the rest of the book of Genesis, it becomes clear that this promise from God is passed down from Abram (who is later named Abraham) to Isaac to Jacob (later named Israel) and then to Jacob’s descendants, Israel and the Jewish people. Thus, the Lord is making clear that those who bless Israel and the Jewish people He will bless, and those who curse them He will curse. If America turns against or abandons Israel and the Jews after being their closest friend and ally for so many decades, God warns He will bring judgment upon us.
Joel 3:1-2 — In the first chapter of the book written by the Hebrew prophet Joel, the Lord warns the Israelites and “all inhabitants of the land” that they need to “wake up” from their physical and spiritual drunkenness, stupor and wandering from the Lord. In the second chapter, the Lord also calls the people to pray and fast and humbly seek God’s forgiveness and favor because “the Day of the Lord is coming.” In the third chapter, the Lord says that before the “Day of the Lord” (the tribulation and the Second Coming), the Lord will “restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem.” In the context of other prophecies in Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and other Hebrew prophets, we know this means Israel will be miraculously reborn as a nation, the Jews will return to the land of Israel and Judah and to Jerusalem after centuries of exile, and that the Lord will use the Jewish people to rebuild the ancient ruins of their ancient homeland and build a nation of prosperity and security.
Consider the specific passage of chapter 3, verses one and two: “For behold, in those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat. Then I will enter into judgment with them there on behalf of My people and My inheritance, Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations; and they have divided up My land.”
The Lord specifically warns that “all the nations” who “have divided up My land” will be judged by the God of Israel.
Tragically, the United States is leading the league in trying to divide the land of Israel.
Creating a sovereign Palestinian state may sound like wisdom to many. But in the Bible, God specifically says He will judge every nation that divides up the land of Israel. Thus, speaking the truth in love, we must not encourage world leaders to take actions that will lead to the judgment of their nations. Rather, we must advise them not to go down that road.
No president or prime minister has the right to divide the land of Israel in defiance of God’s Word.
That said, the Bible also repeatedly tells Israel to love and bless and treat well those who live in their country. This is repeated over and over again in the Old Testament and the New. Just because the Bible does not allow the creation of another sovereign state in the land of Israel doesn’t mean Palestinians should be mistreated, or endangered, or oppressed in any way, shape or form. To the contrary, God loves the Palestinians. We must love the Palestinians. Israelis must love the Palestinians. Thus, Palestinians living in the West Bank should absolutely have the opportunity and freedom to run their own day-to-day affairs, their economy, education, infrastructure, transportation, health care, communications, police and courts, and so forth.
Psalm 122:6-9 — This passage reads, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: ‘May they prosper who love you. May peace be within your walls, and prosperity within your palaces.’ For the sake of my brothers and my friends, I will now say, ‘May peace be within you.’ For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek your good.”
Clearly, people all over the world, including in America, need to:
pray for peace in Jerusalem, Israel and the broader Middle East
pray for Jews and Arabs in the epicenter
love Jews and Arabs in the epicenter
seek the good of Jews and Arabs in the epicenter
The Lord promises to bless and “prosper” those who do.
If a nation follows these principles — if they love and bless Israel and the Jewish people, and do not divide the land of Israel, and love and pray for Jews and Arabs in Jerusalem and seek their good — then God will love and bless and show mercy to such a nation.
But if a nation violates these principles — especially chronically and consistently — then there will be a day of reckoning.
The question is: What do we want, a blessing or a curse, mercy or judgment?
Overall, most Americans are very supportive of Israel and find many ways to love and bless her, as well as the Arabs and others in Israel and the Middle East. This is good.
But there are a growing number of voices who say it is time to:
cut off military aid to Israel
divest from Israel
and/or turn against Israel once and for all
Some do so because of anti-Semitism, others out of a belief in isolationism, and others because of ignorance.
Given the high stakes, one of the things we need to do is teach people about God’s love and plan and purpose for Israel and the Jewish people, and why this matters to America. We need to help more people — including our leaders and future leaders — understand why America’s fate is inextricably linked with how we treat Israel and the Jewish people, as well as her neighbors.
I would encourage you to study Genesis 12 through 17, in particular, on your own more carefully.
You will seen how the Lord unfolds the Abrahamic Covenant, piece by piece, step by step, including the fact that this is an “everlasting covenant” (Genesis 17:7) and thus cannot be broken or abrogated, and that the Lord has given the land of Israel as an “everlasting possession” (Genesis 17:8).
NOTE: I attended the event in my individual capacity as an author, not in any capacity related to The Joshua Fund
Most of the speakers are Governors, Senators, Congressmen and potential presidential contenders for 2016. They will focus on vital issues ranging from how best to defend the sanctity of innocent human life and the sanctity of traditional marriage, to how best to revive our struggling economy and improve education for our children and get America back on track morally, spiritually and economically.
My topic is a bit different — “The Future of America, Israel & The Middle East In The Light of Scripture.” I will be discussing how America’s future and those of Jews and Arabs in the epicenter are inextricably linked, based on several important passages in the Bible. On Monday, I hope to post my notes, as well as observations from the Summit.
But for now I did want to draw your attention to one of the issues I intend to raise: a rapidly rising wave of vicious, wicked anti-Semitism that is spreading across the globe, and which is particularly pernicious in Europe.
Never in my lifetime have I seen and experienced so many anti-Semitic attacks, in this case often through Twitter. I can’t even quote most of the Tweets I’m getting. They are so vile, filled with F-bombs and other obscenities, and language like, “Jews should burn.” and “Hitler was right.”
I’ll comment more in my address today, and in the days and weeks to come ,about what this dangerous trend means and how we can and must counter it.
But for right now, let me just bring some key articles to your attention.
Consider in particular excerpts from The Guardian story:
In the space of just one week last month, according to Crif, the umbrella group for France’s Jewish organisations, eight synagogues were attacked.
One, in the Paris suburb of Sarcelles, was firebombed by a 400-strong mob.
A kosher supermarket and pharmacy were smashed and looted; the crowd’s chants and banners included “Death to Jews” and “Slit Jews’ throats”.
That same weekend, in the Barbes neighbourhood of the capital, stone-throwing protesters burned Israeli flags: “Israhell”, read one banner.
In Germany last month, molotov cocktails were lobbed into the Bergische synagogue in Wuppertal – previously destroyed on Kristallnacht – and a Berlin imam, Abu Bilal Ismail, called on Allah to “destroy the Zionist Jews … Count them and kill them, to the very last one.”
Bottles were thrown through the window of an antisemitism campaigner in Frankfurt.
An elderly Jewish man was beaten up at a pro-Israel rally in Hamburg.
An Orthodox Jewish teenager punched in the face in Berlin.
In several cities, chants at pro-Palestinian protests compared Israel’s actions to the Holocaust; other notable slogans included: “Jew, coward pig, come out and fight alone,” and “Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the gas.”
“These are the worst times since the Nazi era,” Dieter Graumann, president of Germany’s Central Council of Jews, told the Guardian. “On the streets, you hear things like ‘the Jews should be gassed’, ‘the Jews should be burned’ – we haven’t had that in Germany for decades. Anyone saying those slogans isn’t criticising Israeli politics, it’s just pure hatred against Jews: nothing else. And it’s not just a German phenomenon. It’s an outbreak of hatred against Jews so intense that it’s very clear indeed.”
Roger Cukierman, president of France’s Crif, said French Jews were “anguished” about an anti-Jewish backlash that goes far beyond even strongly felt political and humanitarian opposition to the current fighting.
“They are not screaming ‘Death to the Israelis’ on the streets of Paris,” Cukierman said last month. “They are screaming ‘Death to Jews’.”
Crif’s vice-president Yonathan Arfi said he “utterly rejected” the view that the latest increase in antisemitic incidents was down to events in Gaza. “They have laid bare something far more profound,” he said.
Please take some time to read them, and share them with others. And please pray for the Lord to protect the Jewish people, and the nation of Israel, at this dark time.
The Bible describes the Lord as “the God of Israel” and “the God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob.” The Bible makes clear that God loves the Jewish people “with an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3), as He loves all people (John 3:16). What’s more, in His Word, the Lord commands us to love and bless Jews and Israel or face consequences.
“Those who bless you, I will bless,” the Lord says, “and those who curse you I will curse.” (Genesis 12:3)
Let us take this warning to heart as we see what is happening in our world today.