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I believe the GOP presidential race has come down to a “Final Four.” Which candidates deserve closest scrutiny? Here’s my report from Iowa.

In Uncategorized on November 24, 2015 at 2:09 pm
It was an honor to pray for America and for the presidential candidates who participated in the forum in Des Moines on Friday.

It was an honor to pray for America and for the presidential candidates who participated in the forum in Des Moines on Friday.

(Des Moines, Iowa) — As America continues hurtling down a dangerous path toward implosion, as darkness falls in the Middle East and North Africa, as the forces of evil advance and the forces of freedom retreat, anyone who cares about the American people and the people of the epicenter needs to pay very close attention to the American presidential race.

Indeed, as I explained in my last column:

  • We need a President who understands that Western leaders ignore the threat of Apocalyptic Islam at their peril.
  • We need a Commander-in-Chief who truly understands the magnitude of the threats posed by Radical and Apocalyptic Islam.
  • We need a President who has serious ideas about how to neutralize such threats, and has solid national experience that can assure us that he or she is really ready to confront this evil.
  • We need a President who sees Israel as a faithful ally — not an adversary — in this showdown with the jihadists.
  • We need a President who rejects the insane Iran nuclear deal, and the notion of allowing Russia and Iran to run wild in Syria.
  • Commander-in-Chief is not an entry level position.
  • There is no time for on-the-job training in the White House for a new President who has little or no experience thinking about foreign policy and national security issues.
  • The next President must come in ready for war — because that’s what we’re in, and the stakes are simply too high to go with an untested outsider or newcomer.

This is why I accepted the invitation to attend the presidential forum here in Des Moines on Friday night that was sponsored and hosted by The Family Leader. This is why I traveled 27 hours from Israel to get there — to have the opportunity to meet, listen to and assess seven of the most compelling candidates vying to be the next Commander-in-Chief. I’m so glad I did. This was the most fascinating, informative and revealing political event I’ve been to in 25 years.

Moderator Frank Luntz did a fantastic job getting most of the candidates — most, but not quite all — to really open up and help the crowd of some 1,600 Evangelical Iowans to better understand the faith, values and experience that drives and animates them. This was far superior to any of the debates that have been held so far. It wasn’t a cage match. It was a conversation that gave us a unique window into the heart of these candidates.

It was an honor to be asked to close the event in prayer. Indeed, I’m deeply grateful to Family Leader president Bob Vander Plaats for asking me to do so. I prayed for the Lord to bless and protect all the candidates and their families and to keep them safe. In the spirit of 2 Chronicles 7:14, I also asked the Lord to forgive us of our sins and help us turn back to Him. I asked the Lord to grant America another Great Awakening, even though we don’t deserve it, and to show us whom He is raising up to lead this nation in 2017 and beyond.

“If my people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14) Amen.

I so wish I could take the time to share with you all the intriguing moments, key anecdotes and quotes from the event, as well as share with you my conversations with some of the candidates and many of the attendees. But at this point I sense two things are best.

First, let me highly recommend that you watch the entire event online, which you can do by clicking here. Please also forward this link to family and friends and colleagues. Encourage them to carve out some time to watch as well. Then, please post your comments on the forum and this column on our “Epicenter Team” page on Facebook. I’m eager to know what you think. Above all, please pray and fast for the nation, for the candidates, and for wisdom on whom to support.

Second, allow me to share with you my key takeaways from this weekend in Iowa, and from the presidential race over all. Many of you have been asking for my assessment of the candidates. Thus far, I have written and shared mostly about the Biblical principles that are guiding me in my evaluation and decision-making process (i.e., prayerfully seeking a “Josiah”). But today I do feel the freedom from the Lord to write more specifically about how I see the candidates, given that we are a mere 70 days or so from the actual voting in the Iowa caucuses. I hope you’ll find these notes and observations helpful as you prayerfully seek the Lord for wisdom about whom to support.

  1. I believe the GOP presidential race has come down at this point to a “Final Four” — four candidates who deserve the most careful scrutiny, prayer and consideration. Maybe this “Final Four” idea comes from the fact that I graduated from Syracuse University. A touch of March Madness, perhaps. But it is where I’ve come down after months of analyzing the race closely. More on this in a moment.
  2. It was very encouraging to see that Evangelical Christian leaders and activists here truly get the high stakes of this election. They know that we are not just facing a bumpy patch in American history. We’re racing towards implosion. Many of them believe, as do I, that we urgently need to unify around a candidate who has the vision, strategies and experience to turn this ship of state around and get us headed in the right direction. I talked to dozens of Iowans  this weekend and was deeply touched by how seriously they are taking their “first in the nation” responsibility to study and vet the candidates. God bless these folks! May their tribe increase!
  3. While I’m trying very hard in my life not to be a partisan — indeed, I want Democrats, Republicans and Independents to come together and work together for the good of the country — the sad reality is that there are not Democrats running for president whom I could support. Neither Hillary nor Bernie nor any of the others will protect the sanctity of innocent human life, or define and defend marriage as a sacred union between one man or one woman, or work to safeguard religious liberty in America, or truly reform and simplify the tax code and reduce the tax burden on the American people, or declare the Iran deal as insane and thus null and void, or move decisively to neutralize the Iran and ISIS threats. That leaves me and other Evangelicals looking only to the GOP field for credible options.
  4. Many Iowans — well over half the electorate, I’m told by sharp political analysts here — really haven’t made a decision of which candidate to back. They’re telling pollsters what their leanings are at any given moment, but the constantly shifting polls indicate that no one has locked in with a favorite yet. With 70+ days yet to go, we are likely to see many more changes ahead. Remember: Rand Paul was once a frontrunner. So was Mike Huckabee. So was Jeb Bush, and Scott Walker, and Donald Trump, and Ben Carson. The volatility is reminiscent of the 2012 cycle — so expect more changes.
  5. Donald Trump did not attend Friday’s forum. But Trump poses a mortal threat to the conservative movement. He is not a conservative by any stretch of the imagination. He supports Partial Birth Abortion. He supports single-payer health insurance. He has long supported liberal Democrats. He has no foreign policy or national security experience. He has a crazy $10 trillion tax cut plan. (Last time he ran in 2000 he had a crazy $5.7 trillion tax increase plan; that would have been half of the GDP of the nation at the time.) He’s a narcissist who is very shrewdly tapping into deep popular rage against Washington and using it for his own ends, to gain attention, and ultimately to gain power and more wealth. Pundits keep predicting his demise, but let’s be honest: his poll numbers remain strong, especially in Iowa and New Hampshire. If he wins both, he could also win South Carolina, and the GOP nomination.
  6. A big question then is: What conservative can stop Trump?
  7. Another big question I’m asking is this: Is God raising up a leader like Josiah who truly loves the Lord, has a humble heart, and also has the vision, courage and experience to make bold, sweeping reforms to try to turn America around and get us back on the right track? (for a more detailed explanation of what I mean by the need for a “Josiah,” please click here)
  8. The people I spoke with don’t want to simply stop Trump. They are praying that the Lord will raise up a leader who can tap the incredible rage at the grassroots level, channel it, win the nomination and the presidency, and win a national mandate to make bold conservative domestic changes in Washington, while also truly leading the war against the forces of Radical and Apocalyptic Islam. Nothing less will suffice. I completely agree.
  9. Of the 17 candidates that started in the GOP field, three have dropped out.
  10. Of the 14 that remain, 7 chose not to come to address these Christian grassroots activists.
  11. I believe the nominee will come — or should come — from one of the 7 candidates that did attend.
  12. Of these seven, however, I believe three are not ready to be president.
  13. Dr. Ben Carson — he’s clearly a genius, a gifted neurosurgeon, a man of faith, and an incredible kind and gracious man. It was an honor to finally meet him this weekend. I totally see the appeal and why he has surged in the polls. He is a national asset. The problem is that he has absolutely no foreign policy or national security experience. Nor does he have solid, specific, crisp, consistent, well-thought through answers for how to make big changes in Washington. For example, it is a bit odd that such a wonderful doctor hasn’t introduced a health care reform plan to replace ObamaCare, right? Such facts don’t make Carson a bad person. Not at all. But they do mean that while Dr. Carson is good man, he simply isn’t prepared to be president at this time. This is why his poll numbers are starting to fade. That said, I have no doubt God can use him to serve this country in a key way. I think he could make an amazing Surgeon General, for example.
  14. Carly Fiorina — she has real strengths as a woman of deep faith, and impressive global business experience. It was a blessing to meet her this weekend. I’ve enjoyed seeing her star rise. Her first two debates were remarkably impressive. However, Mrs. Fiorina also has very little foreign policy and national security experience. After the Paris attacks — and in the wake of the rise of ISIS and the Iran nuclear threat — it’s simply not wise to choose someone who isn’t ready to lead the nation to war. As I’ve noted above, Commander-in-Chief is not an entry-level position. What’s more, I have to say I’m surprised that a woman of such business accomplishments hasn’t laid out a detailed tax reform and economic growth plan. For such reasons, her poll numbers are drifting downward now after a spike. That said, I like her a lot. I’m deeply grateful for her passionate pro-life advocacy. She’s very open and genuine about her faith, which I love and deeply respect. Indeed, I believe she has a real contribution to make to the nation. She would make a great Commerce Secretary, Ambassador or other Cabinet officer. Eager to see where God takes her.
  15. Sen. Rand Paul — as I have written before (see here, and here), he’s an isolationist, he’s not a friend of Israel,  and he would be a disaster as president as we face threats from Russia, Iran, ISIS, China and North Korea. That said, he’s an ardent champion of liberty, he’s pro-life, he wants to dramatically reduce the role of government, and he supports a flat tax, among other strengths. So I don’t want him to lose his Senate seat. But I believe he will withdraw from the presidential race soon.
  16. I believe the GOP presidential race has come down at this point to a “Final Four” — Cruz, Rubio, Santorum and Huckabee.
  17. Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are the two brilliant, up-and-coming, and very compelling young Cuban conservatives.
  18. Gov. Huckabee and former Sen. Rick Santorum are the two deeply principled, tried and tested, and very experienced previous Iowa Caucus winners.
  19. On the plus side, Cruz and Rubio have money, organization and some momentum. They are incredibly attractive and talented candidates and powerful communicators. They hail from big states, Texas and Florida, respectively. They are both devout Evangelical Christians. Both are strongly pro-life. Both are passionate about defending religious liberty. They both love Israel. They have solid foreign policy credentials. Cruz serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee, while Rubio serves on both the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Intelligence Committee. They both seem to understand the threat of Radical Islam and talk about it a great deal. They have both offered impressive pro-growth tax reform plans. Cruz wants a flat tax — see details here. Meanwhile, Rubio proposes a two-rate plan along the Reagan ’86 model — see details here. Either of one of them could win the nomination and both offer the face and voice of a new, young, dynamic generation of conservative leadership.
  20. On the minus side, both Cruz and Rubio are first term Senators and have very few accomplishments yet on the national stage. We simply haven’t seen them tested over the long haul. They have changed a number of their positions in a relatively short period of time. For some of Rubio’s changes, see here, here, and here. For some of  Cruz’s changes, see here, here, and here. Some are accusing the two of changing positions for political purposes, of being “flip-floppers” or even opportunists. I’m not sure that’s fair. I think they are works in progress — new to Washington and finding it challenging to consistently apply their principles to the major issues of the day. But such charges do give me pause because the stakes are so high. I want to be sure what the next president will do in office. I don’t want to constantly wonder if a Republican president will zig-zag or betray me and the country in the Oval Office. Consider the marriage issue, for example. Both Cruz and Rubio are on the record as pro-marriage. I believe them. The question is this: how hard will they defend the institution of one-man/one-woman marriage? How will they handle the recent Supreme Court decision sanctioning same-sex marriage and get us back to traditional, Biblical marriage? Will they stand firm on principle, and truly fight for our values with strategies than can win, or will they dodge or avoid the issue as President and say marriage is a lost cause? How will they be influenced by the media, by donors, by friends who disagree with them and want them to avoid “messy social issues”? I’m not saying either or both will fold under pressure. I’m simply saying they are so new. They don’t have a long track record we can observe to give us deep confidence of how they will handle the intense pressures in Washington to cave on critical matters.
  21. Also on the minus side: their positions on immigration. Rubio admits he made a mistake when he joined the “Gang of Eight” on comprehensive immigration reform that included amnesty. He now promises to focus first on securing the border before dealing with the 11 million undocumented workers and residents in the U.S. It is good that he sees the mistake and is working to correct it. But let’s be honest: that was a major mistake if you oppose amnesty (as I do), so it’s hard to ignore. Cruz, however, also supports a form of amnesty — that is, while he would not grant full citizenship to illegal aliens, he has proposed allowing them to stay in the U.S. in a legal status. Moreover, rather than slowing down or cutting legal immigration to allow more Americans to find good jobs and see their wages rise, Cruz actually proposed a 500% increase in H1-B visas. That’s a problem for me. Now he’s backing off on this a bit, recalibrating his position. But this does raise questions about whether he understands how angry Americans are about Washington’s refusal to protect American workers by sealing the border, requiring illegal immigrants to return home, and giving American citizens first crack at good jobs and higher wages.
  22. To be fair, every candidate has weaknesses, as well as strengths. Our job is to study each candidate carefully and prayerfully assess which are the more serious flaws, and what we can live with.
  23. Now let’s turn to the two previous Iowa Caucus winners — Huckabee and Santorum. They are lagging far behind in the polls, even here in Iowa. Still, they have decades of policy and political achievements under the belts, Iowans — and conservatives nationally — have deep respect for them, and thus they are worth considering very seriously.
  24. Gov. Mike Huckabee — he was a governor for a decade so he has lots of experience. At the time, Arkansas was a largely Democrat state. So Huckabee made some compromises conservatives don’t like — he raised taxes, he increased spending, and so forth. But he also is responsible for helping turn Arkansas into a red state — it’s now a Republican conservative environment because people saw and liked how Huckabee led. He is deeply pro-life and strongly pro-marriage. I have not a single doubt he would govern as president to protect life (including banning all abortions) and trying to turn the country back to a pro-marriage policy. There’s no concern he will “go soft” or “flip flop” on these issues. He’s also funny, personable, and an effective communicator. He has a deep love for Israel and has been there forty or fifty times. He knows Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders well and personally and would totally restore the U.S.-Israel alliance. That said, he doesn’t have foreign policy and national security experience beyond Israel. What’s more, he supports the Fair Tax but hasn’t laid out a specific plan to make it work. That’s a problem. And while I’m glad he so strongly supports keeping our promises to seniors on Social Security, Huckabee seems resistant to entitlement reform which is a mistake since these programs are leading the nation towards bankruptcy. Not long ago, Huckabee was the front-runner in Iowa, South Carolina and nationally. But he has faded to the back of the pack. Can he turn things around? I honestly don’t know.
  25. Sen. Rick Santorum — he, too, is deeply pro-life and pro-marriage and a devout born again Catholic who was came to a personal relationship with Christ while in the Senate, as he shared at the forum. Indeed, much of the pro-life legislation that has been passed in Washington in the last generation was written by him. For example, he wrote the law that banned Partial Birth Abortion, and got it passed with bipartisan support, and got it signed into law after multiple vetoes. That’s impressive. He has long fought to defend traditional, Biblical marriage, despite intense — and often cruel — attacks by the Left and the media. I have no doubt he would govern on principle on these issues in the Oval Office and there’s no fear of him folding or caving. On economic growth, I have to say I absolutely love his “20/20 Flat Tax” proposal and “Economic Freedom Agenda.” (see also here.) His immigration plan is far and away the most conservative and principled in the field — including no amnesty of any kind, and a 25% cut in legal immigration. This is why he received an “A” rating from a leading national immigration watchdog group, the highest in the field of presidential contenders. What’s more, Santorum was the author of major conservative reform bills in the Senate — from welfare reform (ending welfare as we know it) to Health Savings Accounts — and was able to build bipartisan support to get them passed, sometimes over repeated presidential vetoes. Perhaps more than any candidate running, he has actually passed big reforms on the national stage despite the toxic political environment in Washington. He has the fire and passion of a Ted Cruz; but he has also built bipartisan coalitions to get big legislation passed.
  26. What makes Santorum particularly distinctive in this cycle, however, is his expertise on foreign policy and national security issues. His first vote ever as a freshmen Congressman in January 1991 was not to name some post office but to go to war with Saddam Hussein to remove Iraq from Kuwait. He has been serious about dealing with Mideast terror and Radical Islam ever since. Indeed, it was Santorum who wrote the original law to impose economic sanctions on Iran. And as he said in the forum on Friday night, who tried to stop that those sanctions from passing? Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Kerry and Joe Biden. Interesting. Santorum served eight years on the Senate Armed Services Committee. In 2006, he started warning of that Radical Islam was a “Gathering Storm” we must deal with. He has spoken out clearly about the threat of Apocalyptic Islam, as well. Last August when Hamas was firing 4,500 rockets and missiles at Israel, Santorum brought a delegation of Evangelical pastors on a solidarity mission to stand with Israel. He asked me to be part of that delegation, and I was honored to. It was interesting to see him interacting with Israeli leaders. He really gets this stuff. Many have ignored him, or tried to marginalize him, but he’s been right and consistent on these issues for 25 years. Arguably more than any other candidate besides Sen. Lindsey Graham, he is the best prepared to be Commander-in-Chief. Santorum is also a very effective debater who would do well up against Hillary. He’s become a far better communicator over the past four years, and his “Blue Collar Conservative” message would be very effective in swing states in the general elections.
  27. Still, Santorum is far behind in the polls. True, his support came late in the Iowa caucus process last time. Indeed, he eventually won the caucuses and 11 states, coming very close to winning Ohio and Michigan and earning the nomination. Could it happen again? It could. Iowans like and respect him here. They could break late for him. But right now they seem to be more interested in the new faces. Thus far, Santorum’s Super PAC hasn’t raised enough money to launch an ad campaign to make a strong case for their man. The competition Santorum faces for conservative and Evangelical voters is stronger this time. In the wake of the Paris attacks, I can see a path to the nomination for Santorum — more so than for Huckabee, though I like them both and am friends with both — but it is getting late.
  28. Which brings us back to the two Cuban conservatives. I just met Marco Rubio for the first time on Friday night. We spent 15 or 20 minutes together, one-on-one, before the forum. I was deeply impressed. I have met Ted  Cruz a number of times over the last several years, and spent a day with his dad, Rafael Cruz, in August 2014. Love Rafel. Great guy. Passionate. Fascinating. Engaging. And gracious. Yet I find myself reluctant about Ted. In person, I have found him shy, even awkward. And his public style can be off-putting to some. Not to me, not entirely. I love Ted’s passion. He’s brilliant, and he’s a fighter. And conservatives are gravitating towards him, and I can see why. But others are reluctant, like I am, and we’re trying to figure out why.
  29. Rubio is personally warmer, more winsome, and a more effective communicator than Cruz. He is more empathetic and comes across as a team builder, a unifier. I suspect Marco could be more effective in a debate with Hillary. Cruz knows how to win a debate on points — few do it better — but presidential debates are not high school and college debates. You’re not debating to score points with judges but to win trust with voters. And while I have little doubt Cruz could win the GOP nomination, I wonder if he would come across as too strident, too doctrinaire on stage with Hillary, and put the general election in jeopardy. Then again, I see Cruz trying to use more stories and more humor than before. He certainly did on Friday night. And Ted’s passion and fire certainly fits with the mood of much of the country that is ready to burn Washington to the ground, metaphorically, at least. Perhaps my reluctance and that of others will fade. Perhaps Cruz can keep the fire of his convictions yet learn to be not just a fighter but a team builder, a unifier within the party and the nation.
  30. Still, we have to keep Trump in mind. The question is not who is the perfect conservative candidate. The questions for me are: 1) Who is the Lord raising up to lead America? 2) Are one of these four men a “Josiah”? 3) Which one can win Iowa, thus slowing down or derailing the Trump momentum? and 4) Who can win next November?  The answer — I honestly am not sure yet. I see flaws in each of the “Final Four,” but I also see great strengths and much potential. Would you join me in studying these four more carefully, and praying and pleading for the Lord to have mercy on our nation and give us the leader we need, not the one we deserve?

God bless you, and may God continue blessing America.

NOTE: These are my own personal views. I offer them in my individual capacity as an American citizen. They do not reflect or represent the position of The Joshua Fund, a non-profit organization, or any other group or organization.



Dynamic of U.S. presidential campaign changing in light of ISIS attacks in Paris & pursuit of chemical weapons. Here’s why.

In Uncategorized on November 20, 2015 at 3:57 pm

ISIS-chemweapons-headlinesThirdTarget-FirstHostage(Des Moines, Iowa) — The barbaric attacks in Paris by jihadists loyal to the Islamic State could the dynamic in the presidential campaign in a profound way.

So could the news — just breaking in the last 24 hours — that the Islamic State is actively pursuing the production of chemical weapons to advance their genocidal aims.

So could the seizure of a hotel in Mali by al-Qaeda jihadists. And new ISIS threats to attack Washington, New York and the U.S. homeland.

Such developments put into sharp relief the need to choose a new President who doesn’t simply have a great tax reform plan, and a plan to grow the economy and create millions of jobs and reduce spending and balance the budget and reform entitlements. We certainly need a President who will defend the sanctity of innocent human life, and the sanctity of Biblical marriage. Those are vital issues. But so is national security.

  • We need a President who understands that Western leaders ignore the threat of Apocalyptic Islam at their peril.
  • We need a Commander-in-Chief who truly understands the magnitude of the threats posed by Radical and Apocalyptic Islam.
  • We need a President who has serious ideas about how to neutralize such threats, and has solid national experience that can assure us that he or she is really ready to confront this evil.
  • We need a President who sees Israel as a faithful ally — not an adversary — in this showdown with the jihadists.
  • We need a President who rejects the insane Iran nuclear deal, and the notion of allowing Russia and Iran to run wild in Syria.
  • Commander-in-Chief is not an entry level position.
  • There is no time for on-the-job training in the White House for a new President who has little or no experience thinking about foreign policy and national security issues.
  • The next President must come in ready for war — because that’s what we’re in, and the stakes are simply too high to go with an untested outsider or newcomer.

So, good morning from epicenter of the U.S. presidential campaign. I just got into the Iowa capital around 1:40 this morning after a 27 hour journey (including numerous flight delays) from Israel.

I’m here at the invitation of several Evangelical Christian leaders to discuss the implications of recent events on their efforts to choose and coalesce around a presidential candidate. We’re gathering tonight to attend a forum tonight with seven Republican presidential candidates in hopes of better discerning who could truly be ready to lead us and protect us in dangerous and dark times.

The event is hosted by The Family Leader, a pro-family organization that has had me to speak at several of their events in recent years on U.S.-Israel relations and the threats America faces at home and abroad. (for details, see here, and here)

Tomorrow, I have been invited to spend the day praying and fasting with Christian leaders and further discussing what we are seeing and hearing from the various presidential contenders. I hope to post more on this throughout the weekend.

For now, consider the following headlines, each of which seem ripped from The Third Target, and the forthcoming sequel, The First Hostage.

Chilling. Eerie, actually. But this is the world we live in at the moment.

Will you join me in praying and fasting for the Lord to graciously show all of us if He has a candidate He wants us to support, a president that He wants to raise up to get America back on the right track, stand with Israel, and counter the evil rising in the Middle East? Thanks, and God bless you.



“The failed political adviser who became a writer and predicted the invasion of Iraq.” (My interview in the Israeli newspaper, Ma’ariv)

In Uncategorized on November 19, 2015 at 8:39 am

MaarivEarlier this month, after speaking at the Jerusalem Leaders Summit on the differences between Radical and Apocalyptic Islam, I was interviewed by a columnist for Ma’ariv, a popular Israeli daily.

We discussed the subject of my speech, but she became much more interested in my failed political consulting career, my life as the author of political thrillers, and my faith in Jesus.

The article — linked below — was published in Hebrew. But here is an English translation, if you’re interested.

The failed political adviser who became a writer and predicted the invasion of Iraq

By Tal Schneider, Ma’ariv, November 15, 2015

(Jerusalem, Israel) — All the candidates who’ve worked with Joel Rosenberg lost, so he became a writer of bestselling security thrillers portraying the Israeli prime minister attacking Iran.

In an interview he says what he has learned from working with Netanyahu, and how Jesus changed his life

After working as an aide for Benjamin Netanyahu, the media mogul Steve Forbes who ran the US presidential race, the American right-wing political candidates and even Natan Sharansky, Joel Rosenberg came to the conclusion that a seasoned political consultant and leader in his field he will not be. A short time later Rosenberg, an evangelical Christian loves Christ and loves Jews, decided to write political thrillers.

A decade later, his books — all of which are terrifying scenarios and prophecies, such as genocide, using chemical weapons held by ISIS or the Israeli prime minister who does not listen to the advice of an American president leads a preventive war against Iran — have become bestsellers.

A week and a half ago, Rosenberg was one of the speakers in the Jerusalem Leaders Summit, a gathering of organizations conservatives and rightists reached by political leaders from Europe. The conference, organized in part by The Heritage Foundation, dealt with security threats to democratic countries. Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home) and Member of Knessets Yoav Kish, Tzachi Hanegbi, and Avi Dichter, all from the Likud, were among the speakers.

….As a former political adviser to Republican presidential candidates, Rosenberg has this to say about the race for the Republican fascinating president of the United States, where the participating colorful candidates like Donald Trump or Ben Carson….

Q: Who do you think is suitable for the job?

A: You won’t catch me answering that. I will only say that the president or the next president of the United States should be ready to go to war with Iran. And whoever it is will have to be a person with experience, vision and an action plan. Unfortunately, some of the candidates currently do not have any experience. I would like to know better their worldview in our region. What do they know about the threats here?

Q: So according to this approach, you have backed Hillary Clinton, having the most experience?

A: No, no. You need to have a plan of action [to neutralize Iran and ISIS] and vision. Experience is not enough. And I remind you that Clinton supported the nuclear agreement with Iran, the agreement gave Iran two ways to get a nuclear bomb — whether they comply with the agreement and or whether they cheat and get The Bomb. The next president must be prepared for this, and some of them have no idea what to do.

“Help me to be helpful”

Rosenberg is an American who lived most of his life in Washington, DC. He is the son of a Christian mother and his father was an Orthodox Jew who discovered Jesus in the 70s.

He was educated as a Christian and as an adult became a devout believer. Jesus is his great love, and when he wants, during the interview, to illustrate why not to pick a Republican [presidential] candidate too early in the campaign, he takes the Bible out of the bag, and turns pages to I Samuel.

“Samuel comes to Bethlehem without knowing which of Jesse’s sons is to be the next king,” says Rosenberg with excitement. “Samuel did not know the boys and God did not tell him [ahead of time] whom to choose. He points to the oldest, and God says to him: ‘No, it’s not that one.’ He goes to the next in line, and God says no. And this continues on. David is not even in the room at that point.”

The moral of Rosenberg’s story is also about the Republican race — all options are open. Who can be elected? I asked. “Even someone from the middle or bottom of the polls,” he says.

“We must wait and not be impressed by the people leading [in the polls] right now.”

What Rosenberg does not try to hide is the fact that his political advice — sometime in the 90s and beginning of the decade — was not successful. He worked for several conservative right-wing candidates and was former senior adviser to the two Republican presidential campaigns of the editor in chief of FORBES magazine, Steve Forbes (1996 and 2000). Forbes lost both cases. Rosenberg had also worked for senior figures such as former Republican Jack Kemp and Bill Bennett. Later, he worked on the U.S. advisory team of the Natan Sharansky.

Then, in September 2000, immediately after the failure of the Camp David talks, while Ehud Barak was Israel’s prime minister, Rosenberg was recruited Rosenberg to be part of a political consulting team for Benjamin Netanyahu…..Netanyahu was prevented home from winning, and the campaign was short-lived.

“I was a political consultant in Washington,” says Rosenberg. “All the candidates with whom I worked lost. Natan Sharansky resigned from politics. Then Netanyahu hired me with a team of consultants in Washington.  It was supposed to be a ‘comeback campaign.’ We started to coordinate interviews in the American media, working on Op-Eds and more. Bibi was very strong in the polls. We worked with him for a few months until it became clear that he was blocked from running. Sharon ran and won instead.

Q: So you’ve decided to leave politics? 

A: Yeah. I failed as an advisor. At the age of 34, my friends had already begun to get rich. I sat in my office in Washington and saw that I work for these candidates, but do I help them much? I sat down and thought to myself: I already have three children, but I failed. I said, “Lord, help me to be a useful person.”

Q: What did God say?  

A: Personal failure can sometimes bring a lot of clarity in life. I learned from the people I met, including Dore Gold and Benjamin Netanyahu, and I came to the conclusion that instead of advancing various messages through politics, I will write political thrillers. My political knowledge and experience can be woven into the plot and images. I could write fiction instead of opinion columns. So I wrote a political thriller about the suicide pilots carrying out a kamikaze terrorist attack and smashing the planes into a presidential motorcade in Denver, Colorado. This would lead to a war in Iraq.

Q: You turned from political adviser to prophet? 

A: Well, I started writing the book in January 2001….Then came the terrorist attacks of September 11th. The third plane took off from the airport near my home in Virginia, passed over our house and crashed into the Pentagon, not far from me. A few months later, President Bush delivered the annual State of the Union address, and referred to the “axis of evil” countries, and I realized that Iraq is going to be a target. My agent called and said, “Joel, this is a signal, we must publish the book.” So in November 2012, just before Thanksgiving, my first book, The Last Jihad, was published, and immediately entered the bestseller list.

Q: How did you manage to predict what’s going to happen? 

A: People call me a modern Nostradamus. But I have not tried to foresee the events. Five months before the U.S. entered Iraq, my book was on the shelves and became a big hit. I was interviewed by hundreds of radio stations and media outlets. People have asked me: “How did you know in advance?” I said it was literature, narrative. But the plot and underlying assumptions are based on reality.

Q: Did President George W. Bush read your book before the invasion of Iraq?

A: I do not know. I have not talked to him about the book.

Q: Does Netanyahu reads your books? 

A: I think the team that surrounds him read the books. But he and his team have real life to deal with. I learned from politicians how to produce a political argument. Today I create novels and narrative to explain to the world the truth.

Q: What truth?  

A: The truth that Radical Islam is coming to America. I learned that from Netanyahu and Sharansky. You can see now how evil is increasing . People need to read that Radical Islam is coming to the United States. People do not deal with it seriously. In fact, my concern is not just Radical Islam, but Apocalyptic Islam, which is currently in two places: the Islamic Republic of Iran and ISIS.

Q: Is this the new Hasbara (Hebrew for “public relations”)? 

A: My novels are not hasbara, but they can help educate people. As a result of the novels I am invited to lecture, talk to the media, to discuss the issues. There are currently two political entities — ISIS and Iran — whose leaders are driven by theories of End Times. They believe the messiah will come to establish a global Islamic kingdom. It is not normal Radical Islam, but beyond that — they believe the messiah will bring the annihilation of Israel and the United States.

Q: Your books are a mix between imagination and reality, are they not? 

A: Yes. In my books comments, I use quotes made ​​by the Islamic apocalyptic leaders…I certainly create characters and scenarios of what might happen if Western leaders do not understand the threat. One of my previous books was about an American president who presses an Israeli prime minister to avoid war in Iran. My imaginary Israeli Prime Minister realizes he has no choice and he launches the attack.

Q: Your character is based on Netanyahu? 

A: In a way, yes. And the media has reported that at least three times Israel was planning to attack Iran.

Q: But Netanyahu did not attack, and according to reports, specifically former Defense Minister Ehud Barak put pressure to attack.

A: That’s right. But mine is a fictional character. Perhaps the Prime Minister in my book is a combination of Netanyahu and Ehud Barak….

Rosenberg’s new book, The Third Target, mixes reality with imagination. A New York Times journalist heard rumors that ISIS took over the storehouses of chemical weapons in Syria, and he decides to enter Syria to find out the truth, says Rosenberg about the plot of the book. Together with another journalist, they reveal a huge conspiracy about ISIS planning to commit genocide. At this point, ISIS has already taken on two countries, Iraq and Syria, and they want to take over a third country. The plot thickens.

Over a year ago, Rosenberg moved with his family to Israel.

“I found Christ,” he says. “I wish every Muslim, Buddhist or Jew in the world will discover Jesus as me. If an Evangelical Christian tells you he does not want others to believe in Christ, he is not telling the truth. I have traveled all over the world to talk about my love for Jesus. Jesus changed my life. I do not believe in coercion or fraud, but I would absolutely love for everyone to hear the gospel and make a decision on their own.”

Rosenberg says he feels a strong connection to Israel.

“I’m tied to Israel since the 80’s,” he says.” I have come to visit here for many years, and studied here during college.”

The vision of the prophet Ezekiel says all the Jews will return to Israel eventually, Rosenberg notes. Ezekiel’s prophecy began to be fulfilled, but not all the Jews have returned yet.

“I raise money to help Israel. I bring Evangelicals to visit. My goal is that all Jews will return. I do not feel threatened by Orthodox Jews. I know this society is diverse and tolerant. There is a real democracy here and that is one of the strengths of Israeli society.”




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