(photo: Israeli security command center as world leaders arrive. credit: Times of Israel)
UPDATE: President Obama, an 18-member bipartisan Congressional delegation, and more than seventy world leaders from more than eighty countries are heading to Israel at this hour to attend Friday’s funeral for the late Shimon Peres, the last of Israel’s modern founding fathers. Please pray faithfully for their safety and for the peace of Jerusalem, even as you continue to pray for Peres’ grieving family and friends.
More than 50,000 Israelis have already come to the Knesset Plaza, in front of the Israeli parliament, where Peres’ coffin is lying in state, to pay their last respects.
I so wish I could be among them. However, I am presently in Denver, Colorado, preparing for a speaking event on Saturday evening in which I’ll discuss current events and trend lines in Israel and the Muslim world and lead a Q&A session. There is certainly be a great deal to discuss, and pray about. If you’re anywhere near Denver, please plan to attend.
“Among those [world leaders] planning to attend the funeral at Mount Herzl cemetery are U.S. President Barack Obama, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, French President Francois Hollande, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, German President Joachim Gauck, British Prime Minister Theresa May, British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson, former French president Nicolas Sarkozy, former British prime minister David Cameron and Britain’s Prince Charles,” reported the Times of Israel.
Also attending are:
- former U.S. President Bill Clinton
- Secretary of State John Kerry and a 33-person U.S. delegation
- a delegation from the Vatican (though not the Pope)
- Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas — which is quite striking, and encouraging, given the persistent tensions between Abbas and Netanyahu
- and official delegations from the two Arab nations with whom Israel has peace treaties — Jordan and Egypt (though at this hour I have not seen any report that King Abdullah II or President el-Sisi will personally be in attendance).
Bringing so many leaders to one location in the epicenter of the epicenter, of course, creates what security officials might describe as a “target rich environment.”
Readers of The Third Target will recall how I portrayed a massive ISIS attack on the royal palace in Amman when Arab, Israeli, American and European leaders gather for a fictional Palestinian-Israeli peace summit. God forbid such a scenario would come to pass in reality.
Fortunately, more than 8,000 police officers and soldiers have been deployed to secure Ben Gurion International Airport, the highways in an out of Jerusalem, and the Mount Herzl national cemetery. I don’t expect trouble, but I do believe we need to be praying.
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