Riots. Racial tensions. A pandemic. Massive unemployment. Is America headed for implosion, or is there hope? Please join me Oct. 1 for a special online event. I’ll address this topic and answer your questions. Please register today.

Riots. Racial tensions. A pandemic. Massive unemployment. Is America headed for implosion, or is there hope? Please join me Oct. 1 for a special online event. I’ll address this topic and answer your questions. Please register today.

Americans are facing multiple traumas simultaneously.

* A pandemic that has taken the lives of over 191,000 people and destroyed (at least for the time being) millions of jobs

* Racial tensions

* Widespread looting and rioting in multiple American cities

* And bitterly partisan political season that only promises to become uglier

No wonder that a new poll finds 64% of Americans believe the country is on the wrong track.

The good news: we’re seeing the beginnings of an impressive turnaround. More than 10 million jobs have been re-created in just the last few months. We seem to be close to vaccines and cures, Lord willing, in record time. And many Americans are turning to God for hope and comfort in these very challenging times.

But what’s ahead for America (and for Israel, where I live now)?

I look forward to addressing this topic, and answering your questions, in a very special event on October 1st.

Usually, I speak and take questions at a lovely annual event in Denver, to raise funds for the non-profit Christian ministry that my parents lead called Ministry Architecture, Inc.

This year, because of the coronavirus, we can’t meet in-person. So, we’re doing the event on-line — October 1st at 7pm Denver time.

Honestly, I think it may be the most important event we have ever done. Why? Because we all know that America is in trouble spiritually, socially and economically. The stakes could not be higher. It is, therefore, a critical conversation to be had.

Please register today to participate. You can’t watch without pre-registering. The suggested minimum contribution is $25, and it’s 100% tax deductible.

This year, there is a matching fund of up to $36,000. That means the value of your donation will be immediately doubled. So, please prayerfully consider giving significantly more than $25 to help Ministry Architecture help Evangelical ministries in developing countries design and plan the orphanages, ministry training centers, Christian schools, churches and other buildings they need to fulfill the Great Commission.

Please give through Ministry Architecture’s secure online system, since there won’t be the opportunity to take an in-person offering.

Thanks so much — and please submit your questions online right away!

Where are the courageous moderate Muslims willing to speak out & fight back against the radicals? As an Israeli, I actually interviewed two such men. Meet Mohammed and Ali.


(Jerusalem, Israel) — Ever since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, I’ve been asked variations of this question: If “real” Muslims are peaceful, where are they?

If there are really courageous, moderate, peace-loving Muslims out there, then why don’t we ever hear about them?

Because they media is not covering them.

Let’s face it, there are some 1.8 billion Muslims in the world. The vast, vast majority are not hijacking planes and flying them into buildings, are they? Or blowing themselves up in malls and schools and restaurants. Or calling for “jihad” — holy war — against Christians and Jews. Right?

Of course not. 

Yet the radicals are the only ones we seem hear about on TV and in the newspapers.

Don’t get me wrong — the radicals are a serious, lethal threat. And I have no intention of minimizing the threat they pose. Indeed, I’ve spent the last two decades of my career as an author, speaker and Mideast analyst explaining who these radicals are, why they are so dangerous, and why world leaders and lay people need to take them more seriously. 

That said, why are the moderates — the ones who want to make peace with Jews and Christians, and with Israel — not on the cover of Time and Newsweek and other magazines? Why aren’t they profiled on 60 Minutes and other news programs?

Traveling from Morocco to Afghanistan, I’ve worked hard to find the moderate Muslims I know are out there yet have been quiet, or have been ignored by the mainstream media even when they have bravely spoken out and taken action against the radicals. 

As we launched these two new websites this week — ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS — I decided to interview two of the most interesting and important and courageous moderate Muslims that I’ve had the honor of meeting. We don’t agree theologically. And there are political matters we disagree on, as well. But they’re not trying to kill me. I’m not trying to kill them. To the contrary, we’re actively trying to advance peace and religious freedom in this part of the world, even though we have profound disagreements on, for example, who Jesus is, and whether the Bible is the Word of God.


One of these men is a Saudi cleric — Sheikh Mohammed al-Issa.

The other is an Emirati businessman (from the UAE) — Dr. Al Rashid Al Nuaimi.

They are absolutely fascinating, and I want to introduce you to them.

Here are links to the interviews I have done with them. I highly recommend you take some time to read them. And while you’re at it, pray for these men and their families. 

Thanks so much — and shalom and salaam from Jerusalem.



BREAKING: I’m happy to report our ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS sites went live today. Both have big stories and exclusive interviews. Here’s the latest.


It’s Launch Day – welcome to ALL ISRAEL NEWS!

After months of building our team and our site, we now are live at

We have simultaneously launched our sister site, ALL ARAB NEWS at

And what a week to get started.

We are already covering historic, game-changing, breaking news stories – so please check out both sites.

Here are just some of the original stories we have already published on Opening Day:

Over the next few hours — and next few days — we will have more original content, including:

  • Exclusive poll results on how the American people view the historic peace agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates
  • An interview with one of Israel’s top tourism experts: When exactly will Israel reopen the country for tours of the Holy Land?
  • An exclusive interview with Israel’s former Ambassador to the United States on how the Israeli-UAE peace deal is completely reshaping the business and financial climate  
  • Plus, we always have links to the most important and interesting stories about Israel and the rest of the Epicenter – sort of a “one-stop-shopping” system — so you don’t have to waste time endlessly searching dozens of news sites trying to find what’s important and credible


With events moving rapidly, I hope you’ll keep checking back with us every few hours for new, exclusive interviews, exclusive polls, original feature stories, breaking news, and fresh, insightful original commentary from an Evangelical worldview that will help you make sense of the fast-breaking stories, what they mean and why they matter.

Here are a few other ways to stay up-to-speed on all news and events happening in Israel and the broader Arab/Muslim world:

  1. Sign up for free email updates — just go to ALL ISRAEL NEWS and type your email address into the section in the upper left corner.
  2. Make ALL ISRAEL NEWS your homepage on your laptop and/or desktop computer
  3. Like and follow ALL ISRAEL NEWS on Facebook so our most important stories will show up on your news feed:
  4. Follow ALL ISRAEL NEWS on Twitter at:
  5. Like and follow ALL ARAB NEWS on Facebook at:
  6. Follow ALL ARAB NEWS on Twitter at:
  7. And please stay subscribed to the RSS feed on my blog. ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS are part of a non-profit Christian organization that I’ve set up. But I will still be sending out important and often exclusive updates on this blog, including details of my new books, speaking engagements, media appearances and so more.

Thanks so much for checking out these new sites — hope you find them helpful. And please keep our team and their families in your prayers. May the Lord bless you and show you His mercy and kindness.


What did the Trump and Biden nomination speeches tell us about their approaches towards Israel and the Mideast? A few observations as the 2020 campaign goes into full battle mode.


(Jerusalem, Israel) — Next Tuesday, September 1st, my Israeli, Palestinian and Lebanese colleagues and I will launch two new websites:

Given that both sites will be run by a new 501c3 non-profit organization, Near East Media, that we have set up in the U.S., both sites will be scrupulously non-partisan. I can promise you that we will endeavor to provide fair, honest, balanced coverage and analysis of events and trends in and affecting Israel and the Arab/Muslim world, as well as of the U.S. presidential campaign when the candidates deal with issues in our region.


Accepting the Republican nomination for President Thursday night, Donald Trump made his support for Israel, Middle East peace, and defeating radical Islamism a major theme of his Fall campaign.

Joe Biden made no direct mention of Israel or his approach towards the Middle East in his acceptance speech last week at the Democratic National Convention. 

While his closest advisors and allies argue that Mr. Biden is not only the most pro-Israel Democrat ever nominated, and will have a more effective foreign policy strategy than Trump in the Middle East, the closest he came in his speech was an allusion to the region.

“I’ll be a President that will stand with our allies and friends and make it clear to our adversaries the days of cozying up to dictators is over,” Mr. Biden, the former Obama vice president, said. “Under President Biden, America will not turn a blind eye to Russian bounties on the heads of American soldiers. Nor will I put up with foreign interference in our most sacred democratic exercise: voting. And I’ll always stand for our values of human rights and dignity. I’ll work in common purpose for a more secure, peaceful and prosperous world.”

On the Biden campaign website, there is a section detailing his “friendship, support and action” for and towards Israel and the Jewish community over the years. 

As I noted last week, Kamala Harris is more moderate on Israel than others in the Democratic Party, and is married to a pro-Israel Jewish lawyer.

Mr. Biden’s speech, however, focused almost entirely on domestic social and economic matters. Mr. Trump devoted several paragraphs of his speech to Israel and the Mideast.

“When I took office, the Middle East was in total chaos,” the President said. “ISIS was rampaging, Iran was on the rise, and the war in Afghanistan had no end in sight. I withdrew from the terrible, one-sided Iran Nuclear Deal.”

“Unlike many presidents before me, I kept my promise, recognized Israel’s true capital and moved our Embassy to Jerusalem,” Mr. Trump added. “But not only did we talk about it as a future site, we got it built. Rather than spending $1 billion on a new building as planned, we took an already owned existing building in a better location, and opened it at a cost of less than $500,000. We also recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, and this month we achieved the first Middle East peace deal in 25 years.”

He went on to say that “in addition, we obliterated 100 percent of the ISIS Caliphate, and killed its founder and leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Then, in a separate operation, we eliminated the world’s number one terrorist, Qassem Soleimani. Unlike previous administrations, I have kept America OUT of new wars – and our troops are coming home. We have spent nearly $2.5 trillion on completely rebuilding our military, which was very badly depleted when I took office. This includes three separate pay raises for our great warriors. We also launched the Space Force, the first new branch of the United States military since the Air Force was created almost 75 years ago.”

As the Fall campaign unfolds, it will be interesting to see how — and how much — the two candidates, their running mates, and their parties, deal with Israel, Iran, and other Mideast issues.

I promise to keep you posted. 

(Photo credit: Getty Images and CNN)


On September 1st, I’m launching two new websites — ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS. Here’s why. (Please start following us now on Twitter and Facebook and let your friends know, too.)


The number one question I’m asked these days, especially from Evangelical Christians, is this, “What news sites do you read – and trust – to know what’s happening in Israel and the Middle East and to truly understand what it all means?”

The good news: there’s actually quite a bit of useful reporting out there both from Christian and non-Christian sources. The challenge: most people don’t have the time, experience or discernment to know how to extract the useful from the worthless.

Add to this the rise of fake news – as well as so much anti-faith, anti-Christian, anti-Israel, anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim bias – in the modern, secular, mainstream media and it’s not surprising that Evangelicals are increasingly hungry for a reliable source of truthful reporting and sound analysis.

Therefore, after much prayer and planning, I’m very happy to let you know that my colleagues and I are launching two new websites on September 1st.

ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS will be “one-stop-shopping” news sites for anyone and everyone who wants to understand what’s happening in the Epicenter and why it matters. We’ll publish exclusive “news-maker” interviews, exclusive polls, original reporting, helpful context and analysis, as well as links to the most important and interesting news stories in the Israeli, Arab and regional press — all day, every day.

Truthful. Insightful. Fair. Free. And all from an Evangelical perspective and worldview.

  • I will serve as Editor-in-Chief, writing original stories and commentaries, and guiding our team to deliver a first-rate product.
  • We have hired a team of Israeli and Palestinian reporters, editors and web developers who are working hard to prepare for the launch.
  • We have recruited a great Board of Directors for NEAR EAST MEDIA – our U.S.-based 501c3 non-profit, non-partisan, Christian organization – and they are fully established and operational. 
  • We have also recruited two excellent Advisory Boards, one for each websites.
  • More on all this when we launch.




The countdown to launch day — Tuesday, September 1st — is on.

Tell your friends. Pray for us. And please join us when we go live. Thanks so much!

[NOTE: Above are images are partial screen shots from the two news sites as of Friday, August 21st. The team is writing articles and linking to other important stories every day, practicing for the launch.]

Game-changer: Why the UAE-Israeli peace deal is so historic. How we got here. And the role of Evangelicals. (My interviews with Fox News, AP and the Israeli media.)


(Jerusalem, Israel) — Tragedy in Beirut. Triumph in the United Arab Emirates and Israel. All in one week.

Welcome to the modern Middle East.

Look away if you want, but forces in this region have a way of pulling you back in.

Over the past 24 hours, I’ve done a dozen interviews with U.S. and Israeli journalists, commenting on the significance of this new peace deal, including how the Crown Prince of the UAE told me and my Evangelical delegation in a private meeting in Abu Dhabi in October 2018 he was “ready to make peace.”

Here is some of those interviews.

Let’s start with the live interview I did last night (eastern U.S. time) with Fox News anchor Shannon Bream, telling her Israelis are “electrified” by news of the first new Arab-Israeli peace deal in a quarter of a century. Bream also interviewed two former State Department officials who provided bipartisan praise of the deal. David Tafuri served as a foreign policy advisor to President Barack Obama. Kiron Skinner served as a foreign policy advisor to President Donald Trump.

To watch the full interview, please click here.

The following are excerpts from my portion of the interview:


BREAM: Now, Joel, I know – because of conversations that we’ve had – that you have been in communications with a number of key people and people connected to this. Would you give us some context about what it could mean for the rest of the Middle East as this comes together?

ROSENBERG: Well, I think this is historic. It’s a game-changer. We haven’t had an Arab-Israeli peace deal in 26 years, almost, since the King of Jordan in 1994. This is huge. I’m talking to you from Jerusalem. This is a country that is electrified by this decision. And I will tell you that the UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed invited me to bring a delegation of Evangelical Christians to meet with him a little more than 18 months ago. We sat in the palace in Abu Dhabi and he said directly – it was a two-hour, off-the-record conversation, but I can tell you now – he said, “I am ready to make peace.” We were stunned, and we talked through what the process would be like. And I said to him, “Look, I have no political power. I’m a novelist. I’m a political analyst. But I live in Jerusalem. I’m an Israeli-American citizen. I want to invite you to come to Jerusalem.” And he leaned forward and he said to me, “Joel, that day is coming sooner than you realize.” So this is just an extraordinary set of developments. And also kudos to Prime Minister Netanyahu, who has decided to set aside the issue of annexation to focus on regional peace. This is a huge, huge development.


BREAM: Very quickly, Joel, I see you nodding your head about the Iran piece [of the story]. Can you give us a quick comment on that, what it means to them?


ROSENBERG: Absolutely. The Iran nuclear threat – and the Iran terrorism threat and subversion threat – has been the key ingredient that has fundamentally recalculated every Arab leader’s view in the region to ask, “Who is my friend, and who is my foe?” And I will tell you, there is a slight degree of credit that needs to go to President Obama here, almost inadvertently. Because by siding with the Iran nuclear deal, and not including the Sunni Arab states and Israel in those discussions – in fact, we were all blindsided by the fact that secret negotiations were going on – it really accelerated the UAE’s decision, “I need allies like Israel.”

If you’re interested, here are links to other stories I’m quoted in:






BREAKING: ISRAEL AND UAE AGREE TO FULL NORMALIZATION OF RELATIONS. President Trump brokers deal. First Arab-Israeli peace agreement in 26 years.


(Jerusalem, Israel) — Historic, stunning events are breaking here in the region.

President Trump announced today that he has brokered a peace deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates. 

This is the first time in 26 years that an Arab state has agreed to make peace with Israel. The first was Egypt in the period between 1977 and 1979. The last was the Kingdom of Jordan, in 1994.

The president held a phone call with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed to finalize a deal that has been in the works for month.

When I was in Washington, D.C. last month, I met twice with the UAE Ambassador to the United States, Yousef al-Otaiba, and spoke with him by phone, as well. With each conversation, it was becoming clearer that the UAE was working on a peace deal.

However, UAE senior officials were also making it clear to Israel that they could have full normalization, or annexation, but not both.

Throughout the summer, the President and senior U.S. officials who had initially supported Israeli “annexation,” or “incorporation” of some percentage of Judea and Samaria (the “West Bank”) into the sovereign state of Israel, began rethinking. 

In a conversation with a very senior U.S. official, I made the case that a peace deal between Israel and the UAE was far more important, historic, strategic and game-changing and pressed the administration to pursue that route with vigor.

I’ll share many more details in the days ahead.

For now, here is the officials statement released by the White House:


I’ll have more updates on Twitter on this exciting, dramatic development.

How Can You Help Lebanese Christians Love Their Neighbors After Devastating Explosion? The Joshua Fund has set up an emergency fund to help trusted Lebanese Evangelical ministry allies. A matching grant will double value of your donation.


The Joshua Fund is a ministry that Lynn and I founded in 2006 to educate and mobilize Christians to “bless Israel and her neighbors in the name of Jesus.”

Lebanon is one of those neighbors, and the people there are suffering terribly right now in the wake of the horrifying explosion last week.

  • Nearly 200 dead. Some 6,000 wounded.
  • More than 300,000 homeless.
  • Plus an economic meltdown that has caused 80% or more of the value of their currency to vanish.

Many of you have reached out and asked how The Joshua Fund can help. I want to personally thank you for your compassion and kindness.

Of course, the biggest impact you can make is to pray — please intercede on behalf of those whose lives have been uprooted and likely forever changed.

At the same time, I want you to know that we have worked closely with trusted Evangelical Christian ministries in Lebanon for years. We have Arab Evangelical allies on the ground who truly understand what’s happening and know where new resources can be effective. We are hearing directly from these partners that the explosion on August 4th, has “intensified and multiplied the needs of the people, especially in Beirut.”

True, we can’t bring in tens of millions of dollars of aid like world governments and the U.N. But we believe that it is important for followers of Jesus Christ to show up in an unprecedented way and respond to this crisis in Lebanon.

So, The Joshua Fund quickly set up a Lebanon Emergency Response Fund to invest $200,000 into Evangelical ministries there to be a blessing and bring hope and God’s love.

Almost immediately, one gracious donor has provided $100,000 matching grant towards this effort. Will you help us now by giving today towards the additional $100,000?

Because of this generous matching grant, your gift’s impact will be instantly doubled – if you give $50, your donation will be matched and we’ve receive $100; if  you give $1,000, we will receive $2,000 towards caring for those in Beirut.

This fund will enable The Joshua Fund to underwrite critical resources by providing food, hygiene items, life-sustaining essentials, and COVID-19 protection to those who have been displaced — and all through local, trusted believers. 


On behalf of our allies, and the many devastated by this humanitarian crisis, will you respond with a generous gift today?

Thank you in advance for helping us show the love of Christ. Together, we can strengthen the church in the Epicenter and demonstrate God’s love towards our brothers and sisters Lebanon, all in the name of Jesus.

To make a secure, tax deductible donation to The Joshua Fund today, please click here — thanks so much!

Who is Kamala Harris? Married to a Jewish lawyer, she’s actually more moderate on Israel than many in the Democratic Party. But Jewish Republicans say she’d be a disaster. Here’s the story.


(Jerusalem, Israel) — The race is on.

With Joe Biden’s announcement on Tuesday that Senator Kamala Harris, the California Democrat, will be his running mate, the two tickets are now set. An epic battle for control of the White House is underway. Expect it to get brutal as both sides will work overtime to paint the other as extremists who endanger the future of the United States.

So, who is Kamala Harris? 

  • “Kamala Devi Harris was born in Oakland, California on October 20, 1964, the eldest of two children born to Shyamala Gopalan, a cancer researcher from India, and Donald Harris, an economist from Jamaica,” notes Politico, in their helpful article, “55 Things You Need To Know About Kamala Harris.”
  • “Her mother chose Kamala’s name as a nod both to her Indian roots — Kamala means ‘lotus’ and is another name for the Hindu goddess Lakshmi — and the empowerment of women,” reports Politico.
  • “As a child, Harris went to both a Black Baptist church and a Hindu temple — embracing both her South Asian and Black identities,” reports Politico.
  • She is the first African American woman to be named a vice presidential contender.
  • She is a lawyer, the former District Attorney of San Francisco, the former Attorney General for the State of California, and was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2016.
  • She married Doug Emhoff, a lawyer, in 2014.


What are Jewish Democrats saying about Kamala Harris?

  • The first thing Jewish Democrats point out about Harris is that she is married to a Jewish man (Emhoff) and is the step mom of his two Jewish children from a previous marriage.  
  • At a book tour event in 2019, recounted by The Forward, Harris shared the story that her Jewish in-laws are from originally from Brooklyn, and lived for many years in New Jersey. “Imitating the thick accent of a New York bubbe [grandmother], Harris said, ‘The first time I meet my mother-in-law, she looks at me, puts my face in her hand … she looks at me and she says, “Oh look at you. You’re prettier than you are on television. Mike, look at her!”….I swear to you.” (see video clip)
  • Jewish Democratic leaders also note that Harris is far more moderate on Israel than many in their party.
  • Tuesday night, the “Democratic Majority For Israel” — a group of pro-Israel Jewish Democrats founded by pollster and strategist Mark Mellman — immediately Tweeted out: “We hope you’ll join us in congratulating Senator @KamalaHarris on her selection as @JoeBiden’s running mate! They are the perfect team to take on President Trump and restore American leadership!”
  • Mellman’s group also Tweeted: “Pro-Israel Democratic presidential candidate. Pro-Israel Democratic vice presidential candidate. Pro-Israel Democratic platform.”
  • As a freshman Senator, Harris visited Israel in November 2017 and met with Prime Minister Netanyahu, who Tweeted out a picture of their meeting. 
  • The Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported Tuesday night, “As a senator, Harris has been aligned with Biden on Israel: She is seen as a strong supporter with ties to AIPAC, the country’s largest pro-Israel lobby, and unlike some Democrats has not broached the idea of conditioning aid to Israel to influence its policies. During her presidential run, Harris separated herself somewhat from even the mainstream moderates in the pack, firmly opposing the idea of condemnatory U.N. votes or even strong public criticism aimed at swaying Israeli policy. While the more liberal pro-Israel group J Street has endorsed the centrist Biden, who also has committed to keeping spats with Israel private and the idea of not allowing any ‘daylight’ between the U.S. and Israel in diplomatic terms, it has not backed Harris. J Street, which lobbies for a two-state solution, has endorsed more than half of Senate Democrats.”


What are Jewish Republicans saying about Kamala Harris?

  •  Matt Brooks, executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, immediately issued a statement on Tuesday night warning that Biden and Harris would “push the Left’s agenda on the American people…endangering our allies and weakening our relationship with Israel.”
  • “Joe Biden has sealed the Democrat Party’s move to the extreme left with the choice of Kamala Harris as his running mate,” Brooks said, making the following points.
  • “Senator Harris wants to put the US back into the disastrous Obama-Biden nuclear deal with Iran.”
  • “She does not stand with Israel and the Jewish community.” 
  • “She voted against an anti-BDS bill in the Senate that also extended an existing loan guarantee program with Israel.”
  • “As Attorney General of California, she received numerous letters from Jewish organizations urging her to act against anti-Semitic activities on campuses in the California public university system, but she refused to answer those pleas.”
  • Brooks added that “Harris is right up there with the Bernie Sanders wing of the party in supporting ‘Medicare for All’ and opposing fair trade deals like the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). In a 2016 California Senate candidate debate, then-Attorney General Harris said she had directed local law enforcement that they were not required to comply with ICE detainers for illegal immigrants who committed crimes. A Biden-Harris White House would push the Left’s agenda on the American people, weakening our national security, choking off our economic opportunities, endangering our allies, and weakening our relationship with Israel.”
  • Ari Fleischer, a Jewish Republican who served as White House press secretary for President George W. Bush, was interviewed on Fox News by Laura Ingraham on Tuesday night. He, too, was sharply critical of Harris, but chose to focus on domestic matters, not Israel or foreign policy.
  • “I think two political things are going to happen now that Harris is named,” Fleischer said. “One, this race is going to tighten up even more. The reason is because Biden naming her reminds people that Biden exists. He is so much better off hiding in his bunker and not making any news that he is making news….Secondly, I just question whether or not this is going to boost African-American turnout at all. I don’t think it will. She’s just not that historically exciting to African-Americans, she certainly wasn’t during the primary. And that was the one of the biggest reasons Biden picked her in order to win. I don’t see it.” (watch video clip via Mediaite)

[Note: I wrote this column in my capacity as a private citizen and commentator, not as Chairman of The Joshua Fund, which is a non-profit, non-political and non-partisan organization.]



NOW WHAT? Lebanon’s Prime Minister and entire Cabinet resign, but take no responsibility for explosion or corruption. What comes next — serious, sweeping reform or tighter Iranian, Hezbollah control?


High drama in Lebanon.

Prime Minister Hassan Diab and his entire Lebanese government resigned en masse on Monday, but took no responsibility for the explosion or destruction, nor provided clear indications of what would come next.

“I discovered that the system of corruption was bigger than the state and that the state is bound by this system, and that it is not possible to confront it or get rid of it,”  Diab said at a press conference on Monday night.

“Between us and change, a very thick wall is protected by a class that resists with all dirty methods in order to control the state,” Diab added. “We fought fiercely and with honor, but this battle has no equivalence.”

Diab also took no responsibility for the corruption that he so forcefully denounced.

However, an exclusive Reuters story indicates that Diab and Lebanese President Michel Aoun had recently been warned about the enormous risk of storing the explosive materials at the Beirut Port.

“Lebanese security officials warned the prime minister and president last month that 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate stored in Beirut’s port posed a security risk and could destroy the capital if it exploded, according to documents seen by Reuters and senior security sources,” Reuters reported. 

“Just over two weeks later,” Reuters added, “the industrial chemicals exploded in a massive blast that obliterated most of the port, killed at least 163 people, injured 6,000 more and destroyed some 6,000 buildings, according to municipal authorities.

The big question: Now what?

Are serious, sweeping reforms coming? Or will Iran and Hezbollah be free to tighten their grip even further?


“Diab was assigned to lead the government on Dec. 19, 2019, following street protests that toppled the government of his predecessor, Saad Hariri,” noted Arab News. “His government won the confidence vote of parliament on Feb. 11 with the support of Hezbollah, the Free Patriotic Movement and the Amal Movement. The Lebanese Forces, Future Movement and Progressive Socialist parties did not take part in the vote.”

The first indication that the entire government was stepping down came on Monday afternoon when Hamad Hassan, Lebanon’s Minister of Health, told the Associated Press and other reporters that the government has resigned after the devastating blast at the Beirut port which sparked mass protests. 

“The whole government resigned,” Hassan said.

Pledges of aid to help Beirut recover and rebuild are beginning to come in.

“An emergency international donor conference on Sunday raised pledges worth nearly 253 million euros ($298 million) for immediate humanitarian relief,” Arab News and Reuters reported. “But foreign countries demand transparency over how the aid is used, wary of writing blank cheques to a government perceived by its own people as deeply corrupt. Some are concerned about the influence of Shiite movement Hezbollah, which is designated as a terrorist group by the United States.”

[Photo credit: 1) Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab hands his resignation letter to President Michel Aoun — Reuters; 2) Photo of Diab — Presidency of Lebanon/Handout/Anadolu Agency]