(Washington, D.C.) — On Monday, several colleagues and I will be hosting an event at the National Press Club, releasing a fascinating new survey. If you are a credentialed member of the media, we invite you to join us. Here’s the media advisory.
WHAT: A new survey conducted by LifeWay Research and sponsored by Chosen People Ministries and New York Times bestselling author Joel C. Rosenberg will shed light on Evangelicals’ changing attitudes toward Israel and their effect on the Church’s support of Israel. The data will provide insight at a critical time as the nation of Israel celebrates its 70th anniversary and key decisions are made by U.S. leaders regarding Israeli-Palestinian relations.
WHEN: Monday, December 4, 2017 from 9:00 to 10:00 a.m. EDT
WHERE: National Press Club, Murrow Room, 529 14th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20045
Dr. Mitch Glaser, President of Chosen People Ministries and a Jewish believer in Jesus
Joel Rosenberg, New York Times bestselling author and dual U.S.-Israeli citizen
Dr. Darrell L. Bock, Executive Director of Cultural Engagement at The Hendricks Center and Senior Research Professor of New Testament studies at Dallas Theological Seminary
Scott McConnell, Executive Director of LifeWay Research
DETAILS: A new LifeWay Research Survey, “Evangelical Attitudes Toward Israel and the Peace Process,” seeks to understand whether a generational shift is taking place in positions held by Evangelical Christians regarding the modern state of Israel and the role of the Jewish people in the plan of God.
MEDIA CREDENTIALS: Please contact Kristin Cole or Steve Yount of A. Larry Ross Communications at 972.267.1111 or email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Seventy years ago today — on November 29th, 1947 — history was made.
The United Nations General Assembly voted in favor of Resolution 181 (aka, the “Partition Plan”) to divide the land of British Mandated Palestine to create a sovereign Israeli Jewish state and a sovereign Palestinian Arab state.
The plan was controversial. It was by no means clear the resolution would pass. Jews and Christians around the world listened by radio to the vote anxiously, prayerfully. And to their astonishment, in the end the resolution passed.
Thirty-three states voted in favor, including the United States.
Thirteen states voted against.
Ten states abstained.
True, Jewish leaders living in Palestine at the time wanted much more land than the U.N. plan offered. But in the end they accepted the plan. After two thousand years in exile from the Biblical land of Israel, the world was finally giving the Jewish people legal permission to re-gather and rebuild the ancient ruins.
Six months later — on May 14th, 1948 — David Ben Gurion formally declared Israel’s independence. Tragically, five Arab states immediately launched a war to destroy the reborn State of Israel.
Seventy years later, the conflict still is not resolved. Millions of Palestinians live in poverty and discouragement. Their leaders have been offered peace treaties multiple times by multiple Israeli leaders, but thus far have not agreed.
That said, there has been progress in the region.
In November 1977, Egyptian President Anwar el-Sadat stunned Israel and the world by making a historic and completely unexpected visit to Jerusalem to address the Knesset.
In September 1978, President Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Began spent thirteen days at Camp David with President Jimmy Carter hammering out the framework of a peace treaty.
On March 26, 1979, Sadat and Begin met at the White House and formally signed a comprehensive peace treaty with Israel, ending that conflict and establishing full diplomatic and economic ties.
On October 26, 1994, Jordanian King Hussein and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin signed a comprehensive peace treaty between the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and the State of Israel.
In recent years, a growing number of Sunni Arab nations — including Saudi Arabia — are quietly building diplomatic, intelligence and security relationships with Israel.
In Psalm 34:14, believers are commanded to “seek peace and pursue it.” In Psalm 122:6, believers are commanded to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem.” The Lord Jesus told His disciples, “Blessed are the peacemakers.” (Matthew 5:9)
As a Jewish person (on my father’s side), a dual U.S.-Israeli citizen, and a follower of Jesus, I am grateful for this anniversary, as I believe it marks in no insignificant way evidence of God keeping His Abrahamic Covenant with the Jewish people. Despite our history of sin and rebellion, the God of Israel continues to be gracious and merciful to His people. He promised in the Scriptures through the ancient prophets to bring us back to the Land, and He is keeping His promise. He is giving us a Land we don’t deserve as He calls us back to Himself and His Word.
At the same time, because I love Israel and want her to be safe and free and prosperous and to know and faithful to the Lord God Almighty, I also pray for peace, and seek to be a peacemaker, and seek to love and bless my Palestinian neighbors. How I want to see them flourish, to have safety and freedom and prosperity and to know and be faithful to the Lord God Almighty, as well.
Ultimately, I believe only the Messiah can heal these wounds and bring true and lasting peace and justice in the Middle East. Until then, I pray and work for the Church to be kind, wise and gracious Ambassadors of Jesus Christ, loving both sides, praying for both sides, proclaiming the Word to both sides, and faithfully seeking peace and pursuing it. Amen.
As today is “Giving Tuesday,” I thought I’d post an article from The Joshua Fund’s website describing the heart of what we do and why. If you’d like to give a secure, tax deductible donation to this work today, please click here. Thanks and God bless you!
The Joshua Fund was founded by Joel and Lynn Rosenberg in the summer of 2006. The desire of their heart was to mobilize Christians to “bless Israel and her neighbors in the name of Jesus, according to Genesis 12:1-3.
In this famous passage from the book of Genesis, the Lord promised to bless those who bless the children of Abraham and curse those who curse them. In Matthew 19:19, Jesus instructed His followers to “love your neighbor as yourself.” In Matthew 5:44, Jesus told His disciples to “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” In Matthew 25:31-46, Jesus exhorted His followers to feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, care for strangers, clothe the naked, care for those who are sick, and visit those in prison.
Seeking to obey these biblical commands, the Rosenbergs established a non-profit educational and charitable organization that works closely with Jewish and Christian allies in Israel and the Middle East, as well as Christian allies around the world.
As an educational organization, The Joshua Fund has sought to engage Christians globally about God’s love and plan for Israel and her neighbors.
The Joshua Fund has:
Led multiple prayer and vision trips to Israel.
Organized conferences, retreats, and seminars about the epicenter for Christians in
North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.
Addressed millions of people globally through TV, radio, video, print, and the web.
Built relationships with government, business, and religious leaders.
As a charitable organization, The Joshua Fund has worked in Israel to:
Provide food to individuals and families in severe need.
Stockpile food and relief supplies ahead of coming wars.
Provide clothing for those in need.
House the homeless.
Provide care for Holocaust survivors.
Provide care for the elderly.
Help protect and care for unwed mothers and their unborn children.
Provide medical help for children needing open heart surgery.
Purchase medical equipment for hospitals.
Distribute school backpacks and school supplies to needy children.
Purchase vehicles to transport relief supplies and people.
The Joshua Fund has also worked in the West Bank and Gaza—as well as in Israel’s neighboring countries to:
Establish the first-ever legally-sanctioned Christian radio station in northern Iraq,
owned and operated by Iraqi Christians.
Help build a ministry training center in Iraq, run by Iraqi Christians.
Print and distribute hundreds of thousands of copies the Damascus film—a film made by Arab Christians in Syria about the life of the Apostle Paul—in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, the West Bank and Gaza.
Organize Bible retreats for Palestinian Christian leaders in Jerusalem,
and Iraqi Christians in northern Iraq.
Provide food and relief supplies to Muslims and persecuted Christians.
Distribute school backpacks to needy Muslim and nominal Christian children.
Distribute New Testaments and the Jesus film in Arabic and other languages to Muslims.
These are critical times. Approximately one-in-four Israelis live under the poverty level, including about one-third of Israeli children. Palestinians are even more impoverished, and the global economic crisis has not helped matters. Moreover, the geopolitical situation remains extremely volatile. In its first three years of operation, The Joshua Fund team responded to two wars against Israel—one provoked by Hezbollah in Lebanon in the summer of 2006, the other provoked by Hamas in Gaza in December 2008 and January 2009. Violence inside Iraq has created significant humanitarian relief needs there, too. Meanwhile, new threats against the Jewish state by Iran, Syria, and others continue to mount.
As a result of such troubling trends, the leaders of The Joshua Fund are committed to “praying for peace, while preparing for war.” That is, we are praying that the Lord blesses and protects Israel and her neighbors and gives them true, just, and lasting geopolitical peace and economic prosperity. At the same time, The Joshua Fund is doing what we can to prepare for the possibility that another war, or series of wars, is coming.
(Jerusalem, Israel) — WEDNESDAY UPDATE:The death toll continues to climb in the deadliest terrorist attack in the history of modern Egypt.
“The North Sinai health directorate announced on Wednesday the death of a man injured in Friday’s North Sinai terrorist attack, raising the number of those killed to 311,” reports the Egyptian newspaper, Al-Ahram.
The article also reported: “Abdel-Rahman Moussa, who was one of the 128 injured in the attack, died on Wednesday at El-Arish General Hospital of injuries he sustained in the attack, the health directorate said. Most of the injured are still undergoing treatment at several hospitals, mainly in Ismailia and Cairo. On Friday, 25 to 30 gunmen who were reportedly carrying flags of the Daesh terrorist group gunned down hundreds of worshippers during Friday prayers at the Al-Rawda Mosque, making it the deadliest terrorist attack in Egypt’s recent history.”
SATURDAY UPDATE: “The death toll in Friday’s terrorist attack on a mosque in Egypt’s northern Sinai region has surpassed 300, including 27 children,”reports Fox News. “Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el Sisi has vowed to retaliate with brute force for the attack on Al Rawdah mosque that left 305 dead and 128 injured.”
This is now the deadliest terrorist attack in the modern history of Egypt.
FRIDAY UPDATE:“An attack targeting a mosque in Al-Arish on Friday killed 235 people and injured at least 109, according to Egypt’s prosecutor general,” reports an Egyptian newspaper.“The attack was an explosion due to an improvised explosive device (IED), according to local media reports, and coincided with the weekly Friday prayers. Local media reported that unknown militants opened fire at civilians after the explosion. A state of emergency has reportedly been declared in North Sinai.”
“President Sisi has declared three days of mourning,” reports the BBC. “The military is reported to have already conducted air strikes in mountains around Bir al-Abed. ‘What is happening is an attempt to stop us from our efforts in the fight against terrorism, to destroy our efforts to stop the terrible criminal plan that aims to destroy what is left of our region,’ Mr. Sisi said in a televised address.”
In his address to the nation, President Sisi also said the military and police “will avenge our martyrs” and will respond “using brute force against those fragments of terrorists” in the coming period to ensure stability and security….This evil terrorist attack will only make us more determined, solid, and strong to fight against terrorism….We will fight terrorism with unbreakable power and determination,” reported an Egyptian news site.
Sky News reports: “The country’s government has declared three days of mourning following the assault on al-Rawdah mosque on Friday afternoon — one of the deadliest attacks in Egypt’s modern history. The mosque is in Bir al-Abed in the volatile northern Sinai Peninsula, around 25 miles from the provincial capital of el-Arish, which has been regularly targeted by IS militants in recent years. Officials said around 40 militants armed with guns arrived at the mosque – largely attended by Sufi Muslims, seen as non-believers by IS – in four off-road vehicles before detonating a bomb and opening fire from different directions, blowing up cars to block routes as people tried to escape.”
The New York Times reports: “Officials called it the deadliest terrorist attack in Egypt’s modern history. The scale and ruthlessness of the assault, which occurred in a small town in the insurgency-racked Sinai Peninsula, sent shock waves across the nation, not just for the number of deaths but also for the choice of target. Attacks on mosques are rare in Egypt, where the Islamic State has targeted Coptic Christian churches and pilgrims but avoided Muslim places of worship.”
Please join me in praying for President el-Sisi, Intelligence chief Khalid Fawzi, and the Egyptian security services to swiftly defeat these monstrous terrorists and bring calm and stability to the Sinai and all of Egypt.
Please pray for U.S. and Israeli leaders to provide any intelligence and security assistance Egypt may require.
Please pray most of all for the God of all comfort to comfort all those affected by the attack, for physical, emotional and spiritual healing and comfort in such a dark time.
Rev. Johnnie Moore, one of our Delegates, just reminded me of Isaiah 54:14. “In righteousness you will be established: Tyranny will be far from you; you will have nothing to fear. Terror will be far removed; it will not come near you.” It’s a good word. Let’s pray this comes to pass for Egypt, and all the people of the Middle East.
Our Delegation traveled to Cairo earlier this month to build a sincere and lasting friendship with the leaders and people of Egypt and to encourage them in their important and courageous fight against the forces of Radical Islamism and all such wickedness.
I am sure I can speak for each Member of the Delegation when I say our admiration for President el-Sisi’s resolve to bring the perpetrators of terror to justice, and to provide true peace and prosperity for all Egyptians — Muslims, Christians, Jews and others alike — was deep before we met with him. It has only grown since.
To His Excellency the President and the nation of Egypt, the message of Evangelical Christians is simple: “Your fight is our fight. We need each other. We stand with you. We pray for you. You are not alone.”
(Jerusalem, Israel) — After several years of darkness falling on the Middle East, we’re actually seeing quite a bit of good news in recent months.
The U.S.-led coalition of Sunni Arab countries is systematically crushing the Islamic State. The Caliphate has been dismantled. ISIS jihadists are still a threat, but they’re being driven out of Syria and Iraq.
With the fall of the Caliphate, the ISIS-led genocide against Christians and Yazidis is over, as is the relentless slaughter of Muslims who don’t share ISIS’s wicked theological and political views.
The Saudis are making major reforms and cleaning house in significant ways inside the kingdom — they’re also developing closer ties with Israel, as are the Gulf emirates.
This week marks the 40th anniversary of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat’s historic visit to Jerusalem in 1977, and the beginning of a dramatic peace process that led to the Camp David Accords in 1979.
Four decades later, Egypt’s peace with Israel is not perfect. But the relationship between the two governments is closer — and warmer — than ever.
What’s more, President el-Sisi told our Evangelical Delegation earlier this month how highly he regards Sadat’s legacy of peace, and how he wants to build on that legacy. Mrs. Jehan Sadat, the widow of the late Egyptian leader, also told us over tea in her home how highly she regards President el-Sisi. She said he is carrying on her husband’s legacy. That is no small thing, especially just a few years after the Muslim Brotherhood nearly burnt Egypt’s society and economy to the ground.
Led by the remarkable King Abdullah II, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan also maintains a solid peace treaty with Israel and close security and intelligence cooperation. Nowhere in the Arab world are Christians safer than in Jordan. Indeed, as I mentioned when our Delegation met with the King in Amman this month, Jordan is an island of calm and stability in an ocean of fire. Again, given the history of the region, this is truly something to give thanks over.
Meanwhile, Israel’s economy is booming. Tourism is at record levels. Natural gas is flowing. And polls show that most Israelis feel safer and more secure than any time in the last seven decades. This is all good news.
And yet, all is not well.
There are still many serious challenges in the region, especially for impoverished Palestinians — especially for those living in Gaza, trapped under Hamas’ cruel hand — as well as for the millions of Muslim and Christian refugees in the region who have had to flee from violence in Syria and Iraq and have no idea where to call home.
That said, today was a particularly ominous day.
Today, the leaders of Russia, Iran and Turkey met in the Russian city of Sochi at a summit aimed at strengthening their emerging military and economic alliance, and at figuring out how to consolidate their gains in Syria.
Such an alliance is a new axis of evil, and it bodes ill for the U.S. and the West generally, and for Israel in particular. Indeed, students of the ancient Hebrew prophecies of Ezekiel 38 and 39 should be watching events carefully. One should not draw speculative, rash conclusions, of course. We cannot say that the eschatological “War of Gog & Magog” is at hand. But the trend lines in the region are remarkably consistent with the 2,500 year old prophecies.
Let us, therefore, remain watchful and prayerful, calm and sober, seeking the Lord’s wisdom in how best to serve Him and advance His Kingdom in these curious days.
For now, here’s more on today’s sobering summit in Sochi….
“Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday a ‘new stage’ had been reached in the Syria crisis but achieving a political solution would require compromises from all sides, including the Syrian government,” reported Haaretz, an Israeli news organization, based on reports from the Associated Press and Reuters.
“A three-way summit in Sochi on Wednesday between the leaders of Russia, Turkey and Iran could produce decisive steps towards ending the bloodshed in Syria, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said at the start of their talks,” the article noted.
“Putin announced he and his counterparts at Sochi, Erdogan and Iran’s president Hassan Rohani, supported the convocation of a Syrian peoples’ congress as one of the first steps to establish inclusive dialogue in the war-ravaged country,” Haaretz added. “Putin said the three leaders had instructed their diplomats, security and defense bodies to work on the composition and date of the congress.
Iran’s military is also present in Syria, alongside Russian troops and Hezbollah, the pro-Iran Lebanese militia. They say that does not amount to foreign interference because they are in Syria at Assad’s invitation.
As a prelude to the summit, Putin earlier this week hosted Assad at his residence in Sochi. It was the only time the Syrian leader is known to have left Syria since his last visit to Russia, two years ago.
Putin also made telephone calls in the past 24 hours to other leaders with influence in Syria, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. President Donald Trump and Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, as part of Moscow’s drive to build an international consensus over a peace deal to end the six-year conflict.
Rosenberg emphasized the delegation was a personal initiative of all involved. There was no official link to Trump or the US government.
“Meeting with this delegation is not an endorsement of us or our views, but an opportunity for [Sisi] to advocate Egyptian interests to an important American constituency,” said Rosenberg. “To be effective in Washington, he needs buy-in and trust from pro-Israel people.”
But with the Americans the whole time was a somewhat nervous Egyptian.
“When I heard the key organizer lives in Israel,” Andrea Zaki, president of the Protestant Churches of Egypt, told a subsequent meeting of influential colleagues, “I was shaking a lot.”
But Zaki checked with friends, and queried Rosenberg’s dispensationalism and prophetic theology. Differences exist, but he was satisfied.
“I was blessed by these meetings,” said Zaki, “and I never saw the president so open and comfortable.” Scheduled for one hour, the conversation with Sisi stretched to nearly three.
Egypt has maintained a peace treaty with Israel since 1979, but there is much support for the Palestinian cause. The delegation also visited Jihan Sadat, the widow of President Anwar al-Sadat. He paid for the treaty with his life, assassinated six months later.
Putting Zaki at ease was Rosenberg’s somewhat unusual commitment.
“It bothers me that too many US evangelicals are either-or toward Israel and the Arab world,” Rosenberg told CT. “They are good people, but sometimes they don’t realize you can love both without violation of your core convictions.
“It hurts God’s heart if we show such disdain to one side or the other.”
It also assured Zaki that the delegation was coming to listen, and wanted to help Egypt.
“If I don’t help advance the interests of Egyptian evangelicals, I won’t consider the trip a success,” said Rosenberg. “We come and we go, but this is their country.”
The subsequent meeting with about 40 leading Protestant pastors, ministry leaders, and political figures was a highlight to many. Stuffed into a tight meeting room, they heard not only what God is doing in Egypt, but also their respect and appreciation for President Sisi.
“The feeling in Egypt is that we are not being listened to in the West,” Ramez Atallah, head of the Bible Society of Egypt, told CT. “Any sympathetic ear by a Western leader is gratifying.”…..
AMMAN, JORDAN, November 8, 2017 – His Majesty King Abdullah II on Tuesday welcomed a delegation of American Evangelical Christians at Al-Husseiniya Palace in the capital city of Amman. The meeting capped three days of meetings between Delegation members and senior government officials; Evangelical, Catholic and Muslim leaders in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan; and a moving visit to the Zaatari Refugee Camp near the Syrian border.
After similar successful meetings last week in Cairo with President el-Sisi, senior Egyptian Cabinet Ministers and religious leaders – both Islamic and Christian — as part of a regional tour, the Delegation flew to Amman on Sunday to build bridges of friendship and understanding with Jordanian leaders.
Delegation members expressed their appreciation for King Abdullah II’s impressive efforts in advancing security and stability, and for his compassion and that of the Jordanian people. They also expressed gratitude for the King’s consistent efforts to foster dialogue and understanding among various faith communities.
“His Majesty King Abdullah II is America’s most faithful Sunni Arab ally, and a man of peace,” said New York Times best-selling author Joel C. Rosenberg, an Evangelical and a dual U.S.-Israeli citizen who convened and led the delegation. “When my wife and I met with His Majesty last year, he asked us to bring a Delegation of Evangelical Christian leaders back to Jordan and we readily agreed. Nowhere in the Arab world are Christians safer than in Jordan. By God’s grace, the King has created an oasis of stability amidst a sea of fire. This is a model of moderation the American people need to know more about.”
On Monday evening, the Evangelical leaders met with His Royal Highness Prince Hassan, brother of the late King Hussein and grandson of the late-King Abdullah I, the nation’s first monarch. The Prince, who brought several Catholic leaders with him, shared personal anecdotes of the early years of the country and leadership qualities he has observed in his brother and grandfather. He spoke of “the Jordan ethic” of hospitality and compassion that has resulted in the accommodation of so many refugees. It was a special and, at many points, humorous evening that was a blessing to the Delegation.
The Americans were able to experience the “Jordan ethic” first-hand during a visit to the Zaatari Refugee Camp near the city of Mafraq that provides housing for 80,000 Syrian individuals and families. Since 2011, Jordan has taken in some two million refugees, making up 25 percent of the national population and accounting for one-fourth of the national budget. Despite no oil wealth and limited resources, Jordan is providing these refugees humanitarian support, jobs and educating their youth in order to reduce their vulnerability to recruitment into extremist ideology.
“I believe God is blessing Jordan because they have been so generous to the poor and the suffering,” said Rev. Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council. “And while I’m grateful the American people are doing more than any nation in the world to help Jordan financially during this crisis, it’s critical that the rest of the world stand with the people and leaders of Jordan in their hour of need.”
On the first day of their visit, the group was briefed by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs-of-Staff Lt.-General Mahmoud Freihat, and other senior military officials at Jordan’s Central Command headquarters.
The Delegation was also received by Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi, who expressed his deep appreciation of Washington’s generous financial and military support of the Kingdom, and President Trump’s commitment to reach a comprehensive Palestinian-Israeli peace agreement. They also discussed how to expand Christian tourism to Jordan, which has many Biblical sites, including the Baptismal Site of Jesus, Mount Nebo, Petra, and cities of the Decapolis.
“King Abdullah and President el-Sisi are to be applauded for exemplifying moderation and stability in a neighborhood scarred by intolerance and war,” said former congresswoman Michele Bachman. “These men are courageously confronting the forces of terror and extremism. They’re committed to their nation’s peace treaties with Israel. And they want to work even more closely with the United States to advance peace in the region. These are impressive leaders and they need our America’s appreciation and full support.”
In a separate meeting, the Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, His Excellency Imad Fakhoury focused on the critical economic and financial challenges facing Jordan. The wars in Iraq and Syria and the resulting refugee crisis are placing enormous pressure on the nation’s budget and host communities across the country. He, too, expressed appreciation for the continued U.S. aid to Jordan supporting national reform and development programs resulting from the Syrian Crisis.
On the final day of their visit, the Delegation visited the Jordan Evangelical Theological Seminary (JETS). They met with Major General (ret.) Imad Maayah, president of the Evangelical Synod of Jordan; Dr. Imad Shehadeh, the JETS president; Captain Emad Kawar, the seminary’s board chair; and three dozen Jordanian Evangelical pastors and ministry leaders for a roundtable discussion about how to strengthen the Church in Jordan. The Delegation was deeply appreciative of the opportunity to meet with their brothers and sisters, listen to their prayer requests, and hear their hopes and dreams for the future.
Members of the Delegation to Jordan hosted by Joel C. Rosenberg included former U.S. Congresswoman Michele Bachmann; Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Center; Mario Bramnick, senior pastor of New Wine Ministries Church in Florida; Dr. Mike Evans, founder of the Jerusalem Prayer Team; Dr. Jim Garlow, senior pastor at .Skyline Church in California; Larry Ross, founder of A. Larry Ross Communications in Texas; and Bob Vander Plaats, president of The Family Leader in Iowa. (Also joining us were several wives and two of my sons, Jacob and Jonah.)
PHOTO #1: His Majesty King Abdullah II (center, wearing red tie) takes a group photo with our delegation of American Evangelical Christians at Al-Husseiniya Palace in Amman.
PHOTO #2:His Majesty King Abdullah II (center, head table) hosts a discussion with American Evangelical Christians. To his left is Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi. To his right is his chief of staff.
Meanwhile, a correspondent and videographer from CBN, the Christian Broadcasting Network, is here in Cairo with us to cover the Delegation. I’ll be sure to post their story when it’s filed.
Here’s the text of the Haaretz article by Washington correspondent, Amir Tibon….
WASHINGTON — Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi met on Wednesday with a group of leading evangelical Christian activists from the United States at his office in Cairo, where they discussed the fight against ISIS, the prospects for peace between Israel and the Arab world and the situation of Christians in Egypt and elsewhere in the region
The meeting, the first of its kind, lasted for almost three hours and signaled the Egyptian president’s interest in forging a close relationship with one of the largest and most influential religious denominations in the United States
The meeting was initiated by Joel Rosenberg, an evangelical activist and author who lives in Jerusalem. Rosenberg participated in a meeting that Sissi held earlier this year in Washington, D.C., with experts on the Middle East, leaders of Jewish organizations and former senior U.S. government officials. Following that meeting, he discussed with officials in the Egyptian president’s close circle the idea of arranging a meeting for him with Evangelical leaders, noting that no such meeting has taken place in recent history.
Sissi accepted the idea, and on Wednesday, the 12-member group arrived to meet him at the Presidential Palace in Cairo. According to Rosenberg, who spoke with Haaretz after the meeting, “it was supposed to last an hour, but lasted almost three.” Egypt’s intelligence chief, General Khaled Fawzy, and the president of the Protestant Churches of Egypt, Dr. Andrea Zaki, also attended the discussion.
Sissi opened the meeting by expressing his condolences to the American people following Tuesday’s terror attack in New York. He added that Egypt and the U.S. are partners in the fight against terrorism and extremism, and spoke about Egypt’s battle against Islamist terror organizations in the Sinai Peninsula.
Rosenberg added that Sissi told the group that he wants to “build on the legacy of President Anwar Sadat,” the Egyptian leader who signed a peace agreement with Israel in 1978, and paid for it with his life. “The president explained to us that Egypt has learned a lot over the years on how to make and maintain peace, and because it has a leadership role in the Arab world, it can help others move towards peace, based on its unique experience.”
According to Rosenberg, Sissi told the group that he remembers being impressed, as a young man, with Sadat’s determination to sign a peace agreement with Israel. “My sense after the conversation was that after a rough start, he now has more confidence in his stability and position, to start working more on regional issues,” Rosenberg told Haaretz.
With regards to the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations that the Trump administration is trying to renew, Rosenberg said that Sissi “didn’t go into tactics and specifics,” but expressed his support for that effort. Over the last year, Sissi has stated a number of times that Egypt believes an Israeli-Palestinian peace accord could have a positive influence on the entire Middle East, and has encouraged the Trump administration to pursue such a deal.
Egypt played an important role in forging the recent reconciliation deal between the two leading Palestinian factions, Fatah and Hamas, an issue that naturally came up during the meeting with the evangelical group. “I think that with a different leader, everyone in the room would have been very uncomfortable with discussing this reconciliation deal,” Rosenberg said. “But with him, people felt like they should give him some space and consideration to lead this process. It’s OK to be skeptical, but let’s not be cynical – let’s give the man some credit and see what he can do in a very difficult situation.”
The evangelical community in the United States is considered very supportive of Israel, and over the last two decades, Israeli right-wing politicians and organizations have created significant partnerships with Evangelical Christian groups. A number of the participants in the meeting on Wednesday are members of President Trump’s Evangelical Advisory Council, and Rosenberg is considered close to Vice President Mike Pence. There are more than 60 million evangelical Christians in the United States, and more than 600 million worldwide.
At some point during his conversation with the evangelical leaders, Sissi asked his aides to organize a meeting for the group with Jehan Sadat, the late president’s widow. “They called her and asked if she would be willing to meet us, and she said – yes, they are invited for tea at 4:00. So right after the meeting with the president, we all went to her house in Cairo. She was fascinating. She told us about the night her husband first told her he was planning to go to Jerusalem and give a speech at the Knesset about the chance for peace.
According to Rosenberg, Sadat also told the group about “her memories from meeting Israeli leaders like Menachem Begin, Shimon Peres and Ezer Weizman. We were truly humbled to spend time with her and hear these stories.
Rosenberg, who was born to a Jewish father, told Haaretz that he was surprised at the level of interest expressed by the Egyptians in the delegation. “For the leader of Egypt to invite a Christian group to sit with him, discuss what he’s doing, talk about some of the difficult issues, that’s very impressive. I was hoping we could get ten minutes with him, and eventually we got almost three hours. From our side, the important thing was to show our appreciation for his fight against terrorism and extremism, for his commitment to peace and security ties with Israel, and for saving Egypt from the darkness of the Muslim Brotherhood.”
(Cairo, Egypt) — As regular readers of this blog know, I had the opportunity to meet Egyptian President el-Sisi in Washington in April.
What I could not say at the time was that during the course of our conversation, the President invited me to bring a delegation of Evangelical Christian leaders to visit him in Cairo, as well as to meet with other senior Egyptian government officials and religious leaders. We’ve been working on this with his staff and advisors ever since, and today the project not only became a reality but was far more than I could possibly have hoped for.
What was scheduled to be a one-hour meeting with Mr. el-Sisi in the presidential palace in Heliopolis, a suburb of the capital, lasted almost three hours.
Joining the President in the meeting with us were two key figures. The first is Khalid Fawzi, the chief of Egyptian intelligence. The second was Dr. Andrea Zaki, the president of the council of Protestant Churches in Egypt, representing some two million Evangelical Christians.
The President invited us to ask anything we wanted, and we covered a wide range of issues. Most importantly, we told the President that we came not simply for a meeting, but to build a long-term friendship between Evangelical Christians and him and the leadership and people of Egypt, as well as our Christian brothers and sisters here. He indicated that’s what he would like, as well.
Please pray for Mr. el-Sisi and his team. They are courageously fighting a winner-take-all-battle against Radical Islamist terrorists. They are working to stabilize a country that was going up in flames under the Hellish tyranny of the Muslim Brotherhood. They are determined to rebuild a shattered economy, safeguard all Egyptians (including the nation’s Coptic Orthodox, Protestant and Roman Catholic Christians), rebuild churches destroyed or damaged during the Arab Spring, maintain the peace treaty with Israel, and rebuild the U.S.-Egyptian alliance deeply damaged under President Obama.
This is not easy work, and there are forces determined to destroy him and his nation.
The President asked us to pray for him and for all Egyptians, and we committed to doing just that.
Over the next few days, I’ll report more on this historic meeting, as well as post news stories that are beginning to run in the Egyptian, American and Israeli media. For now, let me share with you the official photos and press release issued by the palace.
PRESIDENT SISI MEETS WITH A DELEGATION OF LEADERS OF THE EVANGELICAL COMMUNITY OF AMERICA
[Official Press Release of the Presidential Spokesman] — President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi welcomed on Wednesday a delegation of leaders of the American evangelical community, in the presence of Khalid Fawzi, head of the General Intelligence, and Rev. Dr. Andri Zaki, head of the evangelical community in Egypt.
Bassam Radi, spokesman for the presidency, said that the president welcomed the delegation members at the beginning of the meeting, expressing condolences to the victims of the Manhattan terrorist incident which took place last night in New York. The President pointed to Egypt’s keenness to strengthen bridges of communication and understanding with various sectors of American society to address the challenges facing the two countries.
The President affirmed Egypt’s openness to all religions and sects and the firm belief that acceptance of diversity, the general framework that must unite the people all over the world and thus highlight the importance of dialogue between these people in all different sects and races. The President also noted Egypt’s eagerness to uphold the principles of citizenship, equality and non-discrimination among citizens on any religious, sectarian or other basis, as well as the consolidation of a culture of pluralism and acceptance of the other.
The Spokesman added that the members of the American delegation expressed their appreciation to Egypt’s leadership and people, pointing out Egypt’s role as the cornerstone of stability and moderation in the Middle East. Members of the delegation expressed their solidarity with Egypt in the face of terrorism, which addresses it with determination and strength, pointing to their confidence in Egypt’s ability to overcome the difficulties posed by the current challenges.
Ambassador Bassam Radi said that the meeting tackled ways to confront terrorism. The President affirmed that the elimination of terrorism in the region and beyond will only be achieved through collective action and the adoption by the international community of a multi-pronged strategy. All elements and parties supporting terrorist organizations will be dealt with, in order to stop providing shelter, weapons, training camps or funding. The President also stressed the importance of supporting efforts to restore stability in the region and to consolidate national institutions with their countries, in order to fill the vacuum that provides an opportunity for the growth of terrorism.