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Prime Minister Netanyahu, call the nation of Israel to prayer & fasting during this Gaza war. (video & transcript of Fox News interview)

In Uncategorized on July 20, 2014 at 8:02 pm

Bible-Hebrewmanuscript(Washington, D.C.) — It is time for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to call his nation to a special time of prayer, fasting and reading the Bible.

This is what all the wise kings of Israel and Judah did in ancient times when facing war and serious threats, and it is time to do so again.

This was the message I shared on the Fox News Channel today as I was interviewed by anchor Shannon Bream.

You can watch the interview by clicking here (it begins 1:50 minutes into the clip). You can also read a transcript of the interview below.

First, here are just two Bible passages that describe great and wise kings of Israel and Judah calling the people to turn to the God of Israel in prayer during times of war and conflict:

* King Solomon called the nation of Israel together to pray for God’s help and mercy in time of war — “Now Solomon had made a bronze platform, five cubits long, five cubits wide and three cubits high, and had set it in the midst of the court; and he stood on it, knelt on his knees in the presence of all the assembly of Israel and spread out his hands toward heaven. He said, ‘O Lord, the God of Israel, there is no god like You in heaven or on earth, keeping covenant and showing lovingkindness to Your servants who walk before You with all their heart; who has kept with Your servant David, my father, that which You have promised him; indeed You have spoken with Your mouth and have fulfilled it with Your hand, as it is this day….When Your people go out to battle against their enemies, by whatever way You shall send them, and they pray to You toward this city which You have chosen and the house which I have built for Your name, then hear from heaven their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause.” (see 2 Chronicles chapter 6)

* King Jehoshaphat called the nation of Judah together to pray for God’s help and mercy in time of war — “Now it came about after this that the sons of Moab and the sons of Ammon, together with some of the Meunites, came to make war against Jehoshaphat. Then some came and reported to Jehoshaphat, saying, ‘A great multitude is coming against you from beyond the sea, out of Aram and behold, they are in Hazazon-tamar (that is Engedi).’ Jehoshaphat was afraid and turned his attention to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. So Judah gathered together to seek help from the Lord; they even came from all the cities of Judah to seek the Lord. Then Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the Lord before the new court, and he said, ‘O Lord, the God of our fathers, are You not God in the heavens? And are You not ruler over all the kingdoms of the nations? Power and might are in Your hand so that no one can stand against You. Did You not, O our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before Your people Israel and give it to the descendants of Abraham Your friend forever? They have lived in it, and have built You a sanctuary there for Your name, saying, Should evil come upon us, the sword, or judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we will stand before this house and before You (for Your name is in this house) and cry to You in our distress, and You will hear and deliver us.” Now behold, the sons of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir, whom You did not let Israel invade when they came out of the land of Egypt (they turned aside from them and did not destroy them), see how they are rewarding us by coming to drive us out from Your possession which You have given us as an inheritance. O our God, will You not judge them? For we are powerless before this great multitude who are coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are on You.’ All Judah was standing before the Lord, with their infants, their wives and their children.” (see 2 Chronicles 20)

EXCERPTS FROM INTERVIEW ON FOX NEWS CHANNEL:

FOX NEWS ANCHOR SHANNON BREAM: Joining us now, New York Times best-selling author Joel Rosenberg. He’s written numerous fiction and non-fiction books, including Israel At War. Among many other things, Joel, you also run a charity in Israel. You served as a consultant to the Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. So you have a unique perspective into what’s going on there, and I know that you’ve been very focused on the impact on both sides of this incursion, and how people are being affected there in the area.

ROSENBERG: Absolutely. I did have the privilege of working for Prime Minister Netanyahu back in 2000 — don’t work for him now, therefore, of course, don’t speak for him now in any way. But, yes, I don’t envy the job he has ahead of him right now. As an evangelical Christian, my heart is going out grieving both for the Palestinians who have been lost, and the Israelis. But there is no question that the Israelis are fighting — not the Palestinians — they are fighting Hamas, they are fighting Islamic Jihad. The terrorists have fired more than 1,700 rockets at Israeli civilians. Israel accepted a cease fire from Egypt. Hamas would not. So I think the moral justification is on the Israeli side.

BREAM: Secretary Kerry is heading to that region, he says, within days, trying to work on a cease fire, and a longer term peace deal. Is that possible, in your estimation, knowing all sides here. Is there a temporary lull? Is there any hope for longer term peace?

ROSENBERG: Well, I was in Israel in November 2012, working with The Joshua Fund, providing food and medical supplies and all to Israelis and Palestinians during the last conflict. Israel massed forces on the border with Gaza and then didn’t go in because Hamas stood down. This is obviously not the situation this time. One thing I would encourage the Prime Minister of Israel to do is actually call the nation to prayer & fasting. He is taking all the other right moves — mobilizing forces, calling the nation to patience, grieving with the families that have lost. But like King Solomon, like King Jehoshaphat, Josiah, and Nehemiah, it’s time to call the nation to prayer and fasting so that Israel can win this war against terror, and have peace and calm in the region, at least for a season. And I think all of the great kings and leaders of Israel have done it. It would be time for the Prime Minister to do it, as well.

BREAM: How do you respond to those who say it is religion that has caused these problems, the fact that these two sides will never, potentially, resolve, because there are such deep divisions along religious lines?

ROSENBERG: Well, I think that Radical Islam has certainly caused this. Again, separate this from the Palestinian people at large — who may not love Israel, who may wish they could have all of the territory – but it’s Hamas and the terrorist leaders of Islamic Jihad and the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades that are firing rockets and missiles. It’s really the Palestinian leadership — in terms of the terrorist leadership — that is crushing the hopes and dreams and fortunes of the people in Gaza. Look, they live on the Mediterranean coast. They have natural gas. They were given their freedom from Israel in 2005. There’s no reason not to be able to build a functioning, calm, prosperous society. But you can’t have terrorists leading you. And I think it’s going to take the Israelis turning to the Lord and asking for peace, as well as the military force.

BREAM: And we know it’s always important to make that distinction between the Palestinian people and Hamas. We thank you for your insights today. I know you’re traveling to the area, so we’ll pray safety for you.

ROSENBERG: Thank you. I appreciate it.

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GAZA WAR UPDATE, Day #13: Netanyahu addresses nation. Hamas defies humanitarin truce it asked for. Growing signals of a much longer, more intense IDF operation in Gaza.

In Uncategorized on July 20, 2014 at 4:20 pm

UPDATED AT 2:30pm EASTERN, SUNDAY: (Washington, D.C.) — As Hamas broke a humanitarian true it asked for by firing many more rockets at Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the nation of Israel on Sunday evening (8pm local time). He also was interviewed on several U.S. news programs.

* Hamas defies humanitarian true, fires rockets at South (Ynet News)

* Netanyahu: The heart of the nation is with the families of our fallen soldiers — PM addresses the country as IDF death toll in Gaza operation rises to 18 soldiers; premier urges nation to stand together, says operation will extend as long as necessary to assure peace and quiet for Israel. (Jerusalem Post)

* Netanyahu to Gazans: ‘Hamas wants you to die, don’t die for Hamas’ — PM speaks on CNN and BBC outlining operation’s goals of destroying terror tunnels, says Israel will work with international community to demilitarize the Gaza Strip. (Jerusalem Post)

* Netanyahu calls for “sustainable quiet” (Politico)

ORIGINAL POST: At the moment on Day #13, what I’m hearing from friends in Israel as well as seeing in news coverage is much fiercer fighting, rising casualties on both sides, and a growing sense that Israel is preparing for a much deeper, much longer invasion of Gaza.

Why? To fully identify and destroy the terrorist tunnels under Israel and Gaza, to fully destroy the terrorists’ stockpile of rockets and rocket launchers, to smash Hamas command and control, to arrest or kill terror leaders and operatives, and truly secure the Gaza Strip so as to bring calm and quiet to Israel.

This will likely take weeks to accomplish, at minimum. But it could take months.

No final decision on such a prolonged operation has been publicly communicated as of yet, but signals are coming from top Israeli officials, including dovish Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and hardline Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz.

“Israel’s justice minister said she did not rule out Israel bringing down Hamas if that was what it took to restore security and calm for the people of Israel,” reports the Times of Israel. “Tzipi Livni, the Hatnua party head who is the the most dovish member of Israel’s inner cabinet, was asked in a Channel 2 interview Friday night to confirm that the goal of Israel’s current ground offensive in Gaza is not to destroy Hamas. ‘I’m not taking anything off the table,” she replied. “I’m not going to tell them [Hamas] what the limits [of the operation] are. Among other things, it’s up to them.’ She said Hamas, in rejecting Egyptian ceasefire efforts, and attempting to murder Israeli civilians via ongoing rocket fire and a foiled under-border tunnel infiltration near a kibbutz on Thursday morning, had shown that it ‘lives in a completely different opera.’”

“There is a significant likelihood that the current ground operation will end with Israel retaking full control over Gaza,” Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz said Saturday, after the Diplomatic-Security Cabinet unanimously approved an expansion of the IDF ground invasion, reports Israel Hayom.

Excerpts from the article:

  • Steinitz, who took part in the Diplomatic-Security Cabinet meeting, explained that the decision was based on the assessment that Hamas was not ready for a cease-fire.
  • The cabinet decided to operate to root out the terror tunnels that dot the Strip.
  • The understanding is that the tunnels pose no less of a threat to Israel than the incessant rocket fire coming out of Gaza….
  • Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said Saturday that “anyone who tries to disrupt our lives will bring their own demise on themselves. Anyone who engages in terrorism against the state of Israel, we will strike them hard and make them regret their actions.”….
  • Ya’alon toured the frontlines on Friday, and told IDF Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz and GOC Southern Command Maj. Gen. Sami ‎Turgeman that he was “very impressed with the [IDF's] conduct, professionalism, thoroughness, control and the organized work flow both in the defensive and offensive operations.”
  • Also Friday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu briefed the heads of the opposition parties, excluding the Arab parties. On Saturday, Netanyahu spent most of the day in the Kirya Defense Ministry headquarters consulting with security officials. On Friday, Netanyahu and his staff said a prayer for the safety of the soldiers in Gaza.

Please keep praying for calm to be restored sooner rather than later, and for the Lord to comfort the wounded and grieving on both sides, Palestinians and Israelis. Please pray, too, for the IDF soldiers to be able to successfully neutralize the terrorists without any more civilian casualties.

LATEST HEADLINES:

Saturday summary — Day #12:

  • More than 111 rockets were fired from Gaza towards Israel.
  • At least 88 rockets hit Israel.
  • 18 rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system.
  • The IDF struck 140 terror targets in the Gaza Strip.
  • 13 terror tunnels were uncovered by IDF forces.

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I’ll be on Fox News on Sunday to discuss epicenter on fire. Gaza War Update, Day #12. ISIS warns Christians in Iraq: “convert or die.”

In Uncategorized on July 19, 2014 at 5:00 pm

Fox-logo(Washington, D.C.) — On Sunday, I am scheduled to be interviewed by anchor Shannon Bream on the Fox News Channel around 1:35pm eastern.

We will discuss the latest developments in an epicenter on fire, particularly the Israeli war with Hamas in Gaza. Hopefully, we’ll also be able to touch on the carnage in Syria, the ISIS ultimatum to Christians in Iraq of “convert or die,” the Islamist threat to Jordan, and the P5+1 decision to give Iran nuclear negotiations four more months.

Please tune in, if you can. If there are any changes, I’ll let you know via Twitter. Thanks.

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GAZA WAR UPDATES — SATURDAY, DAY #12:

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GAZA WAR UPDATE, Day #11: As IDF ground forces advance, one goal is to identify & destroy Hamas tunnels. Here’s the latest. Updated at 11:30am eastern Friday.

In Uncategorized on July 18, 2014 at 12:51 pm
Explosion in Gaza as ground operations began Thursday night.

Explosion in Gaza as ground operations began Thursday night.

Hamas is storing rocket launchers, rockets and weapons in tunnels under Gaza. They're also digging tunnels under Israel for terrorists to use to enter Israeli villages.

Hamas is storing rocket launchers, rockets and weapons in tunnels under Gaza. They’re also digging tunnels under Israel for terrorists to use to enter Israeli villages.

UPDATED AT 11:30am EASTERN, FRIDAY: (Washington, D.C.) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Friday his government’s intention to expand the scope of the IDF ground campaign in Gaza.

The top priority is not so much to topple Hamas but to restore calm. To do that, Netanyahu says, one vital thing Israel must do is identify and destroy the labyrinth of tunnels and underground warehouses that Hamas and other terror groups are using to store rockets, launchers and other weapons under Gaza, as well as the tunnels Hamas is digging under Israel.

“We decided to launch the action after we tried all the other ways, and with an understanding that without this operation the price we will have to pay later would be much higher,” Netanyahu told reporters.

Netanyahu, speaking at the opening of an emergency cabinet meeting in Tel Aviv, said that “since there is no way to deal with the tunnels only from the air, our soldiers are doing it now from the ground,” reported the Jerusalem Post.

“The supreme consideration guiding us is to restore security to the civilians and quiet to the state. There is not a more moral army than the IDF, and we do not want to harm even one innocent civilian. Not even one. We are operating only against terror targets.”

On Thursday, just before the ground war commenced, Israeli forces spotted a group of heavily-armed Hamas terrorists emerging out of a tunnel into Israeli territory, heading towards and Israeli village. IDF forces fired on the terrorists and prevented a major disaster that surely would have ensued if the terrorist had reached their destination.

 Please pray this will all end quickly. Please pray for calm to be restored. And please pray for mercy for Israelis and Palestinians. It is so painful to see the suffering and trauma on both sides. The Bible commands us to pray for peace — let us be faithful.

LATEST DEVELOPMENTS IN THE WAR:

REACTIONS FROM LEADERS IN THE REGION

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ISRAELI INVASION OF GAZA BEGINS. IDF calls up 18,000 more reservists. Behind-the-scenes details. Here’s the latest. Updated at 8:30pm eastern Thursday.

In Uncategorized on July 17, 2014 at 8:30 pm
Israeli tanks and ground forces are now moving into Gaza.

Israeli tanks and ground forces are now moving into Gaza.

UPDATED AT 8:30PM EASTERN THURSDAY: (Washington, D.C.) — It has begun.

The Israeli Defense Forces have commenced a massive ground operation in Gaza. Israeli leaders have concluded they need to deal a devastating blow to Hamas, and air strikes aren’t enough.

The cabinet authorized the IDF to call up 18,000 more reservists to assist with the ground operation.

Please pray this will all end quickly. Please pray for calm to be restored. And please pray for mercy for Israelis and Palestinians. It is so painful to see the suffering and trauma on both sides. The Bible commands us to pray for peace — let us be faithful.

LATEST BEHIND-THE-SCENES DETAILS FROM HAARETZ:

  • The Israel Defense Forces ground operation in the Gaza Strip began after the inner cabinet met in secret on Thursday night in Tel Aviv. In a deceptive maneuver intended to give the impression that no significant expansion of the military operation would happen in the next 24 hours, Israeli officials told reporters the security cabinet would only be meeting on Friday morning.
  • A senior official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the cabinet ministers had already approved the ground operation when it met Tuesday night, after the Egyptian cease-fire initiative fell through. At the meeting, cabinet members were briefed in detail on the various stages of the operational plans. As the meeting concluded, the ministers authorized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense minister Moshe Ya’alon to decide on both the nature of the ground operation and its timing.
  • The same official also said that despite the authorization, the ground operation was delayed in order to give the Egyptians another opportunity to forge a cease-fire. On Wednesday, Shin Bet security service chief Yoram Cohen, Netanyahu’s envoy for the peace process Isaac Molho and the head of the Defense Ministry’s political-military affairs department, Amos Gilad, traveled to Cairo.
  • The Israeli delegation shared the iftar, the meal breaking the daily Ramadan fast, with Egyptian intelligence chief Gen. Mohammed Ahmed Fareed al-Tohami and his senior advisors. After meeting for a few hours, the delegation returned to Israel. The message Cohen, Molho and Gilad brought back was that Hamas is only increasing its demands, hardening its position toward a possible cease-fire.
  • “We found out that we, the Egyptians and [Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas] are more or less in the same place regarding the need for a cease-fire,” said the senior official. “But we also found out that Hamas is playing a totally different ballgame. We felt that they’re forcefully trying to sabotage the Egyptian attempts and mediation, and escalate the conflict.”
  • After the Israeli delegation returned to Israel on Thursday morning, pessimistic about the chances for a cease-fire, the decision to begin a ground operation on Thursday night began to take shape. The decision was bolstered by the fact that Hamas did not even honor the six-hour, UN-initiated humanitarian cease-fire on Thursday.
  • In the lead-up to the ground operation, the Prime Minister’s Office made what seemed like a series of attempts at disinformation in the media. On Thursday afternoon, the BBC and Reuters reported that a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas would go into effect at 6 A.M. Friday. Phone calls from dozens of reporters who called the PMO to confirm the reports went unanswered.
  • Cabinet ministers told journalists who asked about the cease-fire reports that they had no information about the developments.
  • Later on Thursday evening the media were told the inner cabinet was scheduled to convene at 11 A.M. Friday to discuss the situation. In fact, the security cabinet was meeting to hear updates about the imminent ground operation. Immediately afterward, about half an hour before the operation began, Israel informed the United States of the decision to expand the operation and invade the Gaza Strip.
  • After the ground incursion began, the PMO released a statement saying the operation would initially focus on destroying terror tunnels from the Strip to Israel.
  • The statement also said the decision to expand the operation was made after Israel accepted the Egyptian proposal and Hamas rejected it. “Operation Protective Edge will continue until it achieves its objective – to restore quiet and safety to Israelis for a long time to come, while significantly harming the infrastructure of Hamas and other terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip,” the statement said.

INITIAL REPORTS:

“Israel began a ground invasion into the Gaza Strip on Thursday night, saying it would target tunnels that infiltrate its territory after cease-fire talks failed to de-escalate the air war that has raged for 10 days,” reports the New York Times. “The military released a statement at 10:39 p.m. saying the goal of the operation was to ‘establish a reality in which Israeli residents can live in safety and security without continuous indiscriminate terror.’”

“In light of Hamas’ continuous criminal aggression, and the dangerous infiltration into Israeli territory, Israel is obligated to act in defense of its citizens,” a statement from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s office said, reported the Jerusalem Post.

“The statement said that Operation Protective Edge, now in its 11th day, will continue until its goals are reached: restoring quiet for an extended period of time, and delivering a significant blow to Hamas and the other terrorist organizations in Gaza,” noted the Post. “Prior to the commencement of the ground invasion, the IDF launched a massive wave of combined air and artillery strikes on Thursday night. The ground invasion comes hours after a Hamas assault squad of thirteen highly armed terrorists attempted to carry out a massacre of civilians at Kibbutz Sufa, near the border, before being blocked by the IDF. Infantry, Armored Corps, Engineering Corps, artillery, and intelligence units are taking over various areas in Gaza, and are all working with one another and the air force. They are operating in northern, central, and southern Gaza, where Hamas has dug an extensive terrorist tunnel network. The IDF’s Southern Command is overseeing the ground offensive.”

UPDATES FROM YNET COVERAGE:

  • The IDF was planning to take over areas in the Strip and work to locate and destroy the terror attacks in these areas. The army also prepared additional stages of operation, including getting all the way to the Gaza beach.
  • “This step is being carried out as a continuation of the objectives achieved so far, and to deal a further serious blow to the Hamas terrorist organization and improve the security situation,” the IDF spokesman said, adding that the army was “calling in more reservists to advance the next stages.”
  • Residents living near the Gaza border have been instructed to enter bomb shelters and safe room, as a heavy barrage of rockets was fired at southern and central Israel.
  • “The IDF Home Front Command has taken the necessary steps in all relevant areas, and residents of those areas are called upon to heed defensive instructions as they issued by the media,” Almoz said.
  • The order to take action Thursday night received Cabinet approval after Israel agreed to an Egyptian proposal for a ceasefire on Tuesday but Hamas rejected it and continued firing rockets at Israeli cities. Nor did Hamas respect the humanitarian ceasefire initiated by the United Nations earlier Thursday, and continued to fire at Israel during the truce.
  • “In light of Hamas’ incessant criminal aggression and dangerous infiltration into Israeli territory, Israel must act to protect its citizens,” a statement from the PMO said.
  • “Operation Protective Edge will continue until it has achieved its purpose – restoring quiet to the citizens of Israel for an extended period, with significant damage to the infrastructure of Hamas and other terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip,” the statement went on to say. 

UPDATES FROM HAARETZ COVERAGE:

  • Israeli army to request cabinet to green light the recruitment of 18,000 more reserves in case the ground operation in Gaza is expanded.
  • Chief of Staff Lieut. Gen. Benny Gantz says that “we’ll launch a joint ground-aerial assault, using full force. We’ll continue to expand the fire all over the Gaza Strip.”
  • IDF Spokesperson Moti Almoz said that the IDF has entered the second phase of the operation, which will last for however long is necessary.
  • “Large ground forces, assisted by massive backing from the air force and the navy, are currently taking over areas in the Gaza Strip and acting against tunnels and other targets,” he said.
  • Almoz addressed Gaza Strip residents and called on them to evacuate the areas where the IDF is operating. (Gili Cohen, Amos Harel)

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Is it safe and wise to visit Israel? A few thoughts. (My family & I are still moving forward with our long-planned travel to Israel in August)

In Uncategorized on July 17, 2014 at 3:27 pm

israel-westernwall>> In early August, I’ll be speaking on the latest developments in Israel & Mideast at events in Denver, Colorado & Ames, Iowa in August. Please click here to learn more and/or to register to attend.

UPDATED: (Washington, D.C.) – With the Hamas war on Israel on-going, I’m being asked by pastors and other Christians whether it’s safe to visit Israel right now, or even to take a tour group over there.

Here are a few thoughts:

  • First and foremost, this is a matter for prayer — ask the Lord for wisdom according to James 1:5, and He will give you His answer. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”
  • If you don’t feel peace about going, that’s fine. If the Lord doesn’t give you the green light to go, don’t.
  • That said, if the Lord does give you peace and a “green light” to go, obey Him.
  • Now is actually a very important time for Christians to visit Israel – to pray for peace, to demonstrate Christ-like love for Israelis and Palestinians, to better understand what’s happening, and to encourage the believers in the Land.
  • What a great witness and blessing it is to people in the epicenter when followers of Jesus Christ are willing to come visit them at this critical time!
  • [UPDATE: Even with the news of Israel's ground operation in Gaza, we are still planning on going to Israel in a few weeks.] Lord willing, my family and I are planning to go to Israel in a few weeks. It’s a long-planned trip, we’re excited to go, and we’re eager to pray with and serve those in the Land, and we’re not going to let this rocket war stop us. That said, if the Lord tells us to cancel or postpone the trip, we will. But right now, we feel very peaceful about proceeding.
  • We know many others who are traveling to Israel these days and haven’t had any problems. One of The Joshua Fund’s board members and some of our senior staff were just there last week and had experienced no significant difficulties or dangers. We also know other tour groups that are there right now or are heading over there soon and everything is going well.
  • There are certainly risks, and it’s important to be honest and clear-minded about them.
  • But remember that most of the rockets fired from Gaza land in fields and don’t injure people or damage buildings.
  • What’s more, the Iron Dome is shooting down 90% of the rockets that are at risk of falling on populated areas.
  • And despite this rocket war, it is very important to note that most Israelis and Palestinians are functioning day to day without being affected by the rockets. They’re working and shopping and going to parks and doing errands and carrying on quite normal lives. Sure, they are talking with friends and neighbors about the conflict. They’re praying. They’re watching news coverage. They’re mourning over loved ones or countrymen who have been injured or killed. But life hasn’t come to a stand-still. They’re not paralyzed. Those in Gaza and southern Israel are living in extremely difficult circumstances, to be sure. They’re living in a severe conflict. But most Israelis and all the Palestinians in the West Bank are carrying on with their lives as they typically would.
  • For example, we have Joshua Fund staff in Israel. By God’s grace, they are operating fine day to day. Their humanitarian relief work has become more challenging in the south because of the rockets. But their day-to-day activities haven’t become paralyzed personally or professionally.
  • For visitors to Israel, it wouldn’t be advisable to travel down in the south of Israel at this point — but most tour groups don’t head south — they travel to Jerusalem and the north of the country to see the Sea of Galilee, and Caesarea, and Armageddon, etc. Yes, a few rockets have been fired from Lebanon and Syria towards the north, but they were immediately shot down.
  • Only one Israeli has been killed in this rocket war so far, and he was visiting troops right on the border of Gaza.
  • Remember: every hotel and public building has bomb shelters. There are also very effective air raid systems. Tour guides and bus drivers are very experienced and know exactly how to keep you safe and secure. So you’ll be in good hands.
  • Note to pastors: I’d encourage you to go forward with your tours to Israel if they are coming up soon. But you might consider offering people 100% refunds if they don’t feel peaceful about going. Even if you take a smaller group over, that’s good. You’ll have people traveling with you who want to be there, who truly want to learn the history of Israel and the region, and who want to pray faithfully for peace and be a blessing to Jews and Arabs. What a great trip that would be!
  • A final thought for now: in addition to visiting Israel, consider spending several days in Jordan. I was just there in early May. It’s a beautiful, fascinating, historical country, filled with rich Biblical history. Jesus was there. John the Baptist was there. So were Moses and Joshua, and Elijah and Elisha, David and his mighty men, and so many others. It’s safe and intriguing and worth taking your family and tour group. To read more about my trip, please click here.

I hope that’s helpful. May the Lord grant you grace and wisdom as you consider a trip to the epicenter.

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ROCKET WAR UPDATE, DAY #9: Invasion of Gaza seems likely. IDF warns 100,000 Gazans to evacuate their homes, mobilizes 8,000 more reservists.

In Uncategorized on July 16, 2014 at 6:54 pm

 

Netanyahu meets with his top advisors to decide next steps in Gaza.Netanyahu meets with his top advisors to decide next steps in Gaza.

Netanyahu meets with his top advisors to decide next steps in Gaza.Netanyahu meets with his top advisors to decide next steps in Gaza.

(Washington, D.C.) — An Israeli military invasion of the Gaza Strip seems increasingly likely, and imminent.

  • Hamas formally rejected the Egyptian cease-fire proposal.
  • Netanyahu and Egyptian President Sisi have been secretly speaking and coordinating, but so far Hamas is defiantly fighting on.
  • Abbas is also actively engaged in the behind-the-scenes discussions, offering to put Palestinian Authority security forces on the Gaza-Egyptian border to prevent weapons smuggling if a cease-fire is established.
  • Israeli generals are coming to the reluctant conclusion that air strikes alone may not be enough to restore calm.
  • The IDF is warning 100,000 Gazans to evacuate their homes immediately, presumably because more devastating air strikes — and ground operations — will commence shortly.
  • The IDF is calling up 8,000 more reservists to add to the 40,000 soldiers already positioned close to Gaza.
  • Israeli special forces units are already reportedly operating inside of Gaza.
  • Israel suffered its first war-time casualty on Tuesday, as a 37 year old man was killed by a direct mortar attack while bringing food to Israeli soldiers near the border.

Clearly, we need to keep praying for calm to be restored soon. After all, so much pain and so much damage has been caused by this latest rocket war so far.

Here’s the latest on possible invasion developments:

  • “A senior Israeli military official said Wednesday the likelihood of a ground invasion of the Gaza Strip was ‘very high,’ and that ‘if you want to efficiently fight terrorism you must be present, boots on the ground,’” reports the New York Times.
  • “The official, who has been briefing Israeli ministers who make strategic decisions, said his assessment was based on ‘the signals I get’ and the diminishing returns of aerial bombardment after nine days,” noted the Times. “He said an Israeli takeover of Gaza is ‘not a huge challenge,’ estimating it would take ‘a matter of days or weeks,’ but that preventing a more dangerous devolution in the coastal enclave would require an occupation ‘of many months.’”
  • “Every day that passes makes the possibility more evident,” the official told a handful of international journalists in a briefing at the military’s Tel Aviv headquarters. “We can hurt them very hard from the air but not get rid of them.”….
  • “The stark assessment came as Israel bombed 60 targets, most of them in northern Gaza, after warning 100,000 residents to evacuate their homes by 8 a.m. via leaflets, text messages, and automated telephone calls,” the Times added. “The Palestinian death toll reached at least 205 by late afternoon, including four children killed in a strike on the seashore. The lone Israeli casualty, a 37-year-old man killed by a mortar round as he distributed food to soldiers Tuesday night near the Erez crossing, was eulogized by Israel’s president-elect, Reuven Rivlin, at an afternoon funeral.”

Here’s The Big Picture to date:

  • Over 1261 rocket have been launched at Israel, reports the IDF blog.
  • 984 of those rockets hit Israel
  • Approximately 228 rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system.
  • The IDF has targeted over 1,752 terror targets, with both naval and aerial capabilities.

Wednesday, July 16 — Day #9:

  • As of 2pm eastern (9pm Israel time), Hamas has fired 61 rockets today.
  • 37 of them hit Israel.
  • 23 were intercepted by Iron Dome.

Tuesday, July 15 — Day #8:

  • More than 155 rockets were fired from Gaza towards Israel.
  • At least 122 rockets struck Israel.
  • 26 rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system.
  • The IDF hit 96 terror targets in the Gaza Strip.

Monday, July 14 — Day #7:

  • More than 115 rockets were fired from Gaza towards Israel.
  • At least 92 rockets struck Israel.
  • 15 rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system.
  • The IDF hit 163 terror targets in the Gaza Strip.

Sunday, July 13 — Day #6:

  • More than 130 rockets were fired from Gaza towards Israel.
  • At least 102 rockets struck Israel.
  • 22 rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system.

——————–

>> I will speak in August at events in Denver, Colorado and Ames, Iowa on the latest developments in Israel and the Middle East — please register so you can join us.

Podcast: 1-hour radio show I did on the Hamas-Israel rocket war from a geopolitical & Biblical perspective.

In Uncategorized on July 16, 2014 at 3:01 pm

podcast(Washington, D.C.) — What are the latest developments in the rocket war between Hamas and Israel from a geopolitical perspective? What about from a Biblical perspective? Here are podcasts from three radio shows I’ve done in recent days on the crisis. Hope you find them helpful, and please feel free to share them with others.

For other podcasts I’ve done, please click here.

I’ll speak on latest events in Israel & Mideast in Denver & Ames, Iowa in August. Please register to attend.

In Uncategorized on July 15, 2014 at 10:17 pm

MinistryArchitecture-logoFamilyLeader-graphicWith events moving so rapidly in Israel and the Arab world — and the United States facing enormous economic, foreign policy, and spiritual challenges — it is vital that we truly understand the times from a Biblical perspective. What’s more, we need to understand what God is asking of each of us, and be faithful to the task.

To these ends, I’ve been asked to speak at two events next month and I hope you can attend at least one of them.

AUGUST 7th IN DENVER, COLORADO – MINISTRY ARCHITECTURE EVENT

On Thursday evening, August 7th, I’ll be speaking in the Denver, Colorado area.

The topic of my address will be, “The future of America, Israel and the Middle East in the light of the Scriptures.”

The occassion will be the annual fundraising event for Ministry Architecture, Inc. This is the ministry my parents (Len and Mary Rosenberg) started around 14 years ago to provide architectural services for evangelical Christian ministries operating in developing countries who need orphanages, training centers, medical missionary hospitals, and other facilities to show the love of Jesus. Before I speak, my folks will share a bit about the exciting work God is doing through this ministry in countries in Africa and Asia. Then I will discuss the latest developments in the epicenter. And I’m especially looking forward to your questions as that is my favorite part of the evening.

The event will take place at Calvary Chapel South Denver in Littleton, Colorado, from 7:30pm to 9:30pm. Doors will open at 6:30pm. A contribution of $25 per person is requested to help support Ministry Architecture. Contributions are tax deductible. Registration is required, and you can register at www.ministryarchitecture.com. Please join us — I hope to see you there!

AUGUST 9th IN AMES, IOWA — THE FAMILY LEADERSHIP SUMMIT

On Saturday, August 9th, I’ll be speaking in Ames, Iowa.

The occasion will be the 3rd Annual Family Leadership Summit in Iowa in August.

I will also be addressing trends in the U.S., Israel and the Middle East from a Biblical perspective.

Two years ago, I spoke at the first Summit on the non-fiction book I had just released that summer, Implosion: Can America Recover From Its Economic & Spiritual Challenges In Time? For more about what I said then, please click here.

Please register today and make plans to join us.

The Summit will be held Saturday, August 9th in the Stephens Auditorium in Ames, Iowa, from 10am to 5:30pm.

“The Family Leadership Summit is designed to educate and mobilize the conservative base regarding worldview application and issues that impact the family,” notes the website. “The Summit will provide Iowans the opportunity to hear top conservative national leaders, gathered together in one place, cast their leadership vision.”

——————–

ROCKET WAR UPDATE: Israel accepts ceasefire plan, but Hamas rejects it. Here’s the latest.

In Uncategorized on July 15, 2014 at 12:34 pm

Middle-East-Satellite-View

(Washington, D.C.) — Early this morning, the Israeli security cabinet voted to accept Egypt’s cease fire proposal.

Hamas leaders, however, promptly rejected the proposal as a “joke.”  Instead, they fired a barrage of 47 rockets at Israel just as the Israelis stopped their combat operations.

Senior Israeli government sources say Hamas’ rejection clears the way for Israel to launch new attacks against the terrorists in Gaza. They also say it provides broad international legitimacy for Israel’s defensive efforts because Israel is being seen by world leaders as reasonable while Hamas is clearly the aggressor.

Netanyahu has ordered Israeli air strikes to recommence. Now the question is whether he and his security cabinet will decide a major ground operation is necessary and wise.

Clearly, we need to keep praying for calm to be restored soon. After all, so much pain and so much damage has been caused by this latest rocket war so far.

Here’s the big picture so far, according to the IDF blog:

  • Over 1081 rocket have been launched at Israel.
  • 845 of those rockets hit Israel
  • Approximately 191 rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system.
  • The IDF has targeted over 1,576 terror targets, with both naval and aerial capabilities.

 

Here’s a summary of what happened on Monday, according to the IDF blog:

  • More than 115 rockets were fired from Gaza towards Israel.
  • At least 92 rockets struck Israel.
  • 15 rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system.
  • The IDF hit 163 terror targets in the Gaza Strip.

——————–

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