Israel’s Channel 10 News broadcasts story on Evangelical Israeli citizen meeting with the Saudi Crown Prince. Here’s the video (with English subtitles).

Channel10-Joel-screenshot(Jerusalem, Israel) — In a story headlined, “Israeli In Saudi,” Israel’s Channel 10 News broadcast a report Wednesday evening about our Evangelical Delegation’s meeting with the Saudi Crown Prince, putting a special focus on my dual U.S.-Israeli citizenship.

The report was by Barak Ravid, one of the nation’s leading diplomatic correspondent’s. It ran during the 8pm broadcast. 

Ravid published a separate report via Axios, the U.S.-based news wire system (see below).

You can watch the TV segment with English subtitles by clicking here.

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Inside the Saudi crown prince’s meeting with U.S. evangelicals

By Barak Ravid, Axios, November 7, 2018

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS) told a group of American evangelical leaders last Thursday that he is going to punish those responsible for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi but stressed that the crisis must not shift the focus away from the Iranian threat in the region and the world, Joel Rosenberg, who organized the delegation and attended the meeting, told me.

Inside the room: Rosenberg said MBS attacked Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Iranians and even the Russians. “He said his enemies are using everything they can to exploit this situation and make it worse,” Rosenberg said. “He said, ‘Listen, I am arresting people, firing people. Iran? When they kill people are they arresting people? No. You get promoted. What about the Russians? What about the Turks?'”

Rosenberg — a dual U.S.-Israeli citizen who heads an evangelical foundation, lives in Israel and once worked with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — organized the visit to Saudi Arabia. He told me that the Khashoggi murder was the first issue raised in the meeting, and “the crown prince was not defensive about it.”

  • “He said, ‘Listen, this is a heinous act,’ Rosenberg told me. “He said, ‘It’s a terrible mistake and we have already arrested 18 people. I fired 5, we are going to get to the bottom of this and people will have to pay. It’s a completely unacceptable mistake and it comes at a time that threatens all the reforms we are trying to get done. It’s a disaster.'”

The Saudi crown prince used the meeting with the delegation, which included some of President Trump’s staunchest evangelical supporters, to convey a message to the White House and to Senate Republicans who are pushing for sanctions against Saudi Arabia.

  • “He had two messages on this,” Rosenberg said. “‘It was horrible and unacceptable’ and ‘I can’t let this stop me from all the reforms we have to get done to make life better for the Saudi people and to protect ourselves from the enemies — Iran, the Muslim brotherhood, al-Qaeda, ISIS.'”

The Saudi crown prince spoke for half an hour about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and about the warming relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel, Rosenberg said.

  • “We did bring up — maybe the most sensitive issue was … the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. On that he talked to us at length but asked us not to be public on that part of the conversation.”

Background: The evangelical delegation’s visit to Saudi Arabia and meeting with MBS were scheduled long before the Khashoggi crisis exploded. The members of the delegation consulted White House officials while deciding whether to go ahead with it. They ultimately decided to go, citing the unprecedented nature of the meeting, and MBS sat with the group for 2 hours in his palace in Riyadh.

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Jerusalem Post lead story — “Saudi Crown Prince to Evangelicals: Khashoggi murder was terrible ‘heinous act.'” Israeli newspaper publishes first in-depth article on what MBS told us behind closed doors in the Palace in Riyadh.

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(Jerusalem, Israel) — On Wednesday, The Jerusalem Post published the first in-depth story on our Evangelical Delegation to Saudi Arabia, why we went, and what the Crown Prince told us behind closed doors. 

As I told editors Yaakov Katz and Seth Frantzman in the Post’s offices yesterday, the entire meeting in the Royal Palace was on the record, except for what MBS told us regarding his views of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Our team took detailed notes and I provided some of the excerpts of our conversation to the Post. Here’s the article.

MBS TO EVANGELICALS: KHASHOGGI MURDER WAS TERRIBLE “HEINOUS ACT”:  But he won’t let it stop his ability to take his country where he wants to go, the delegation head says.

By Seth Frantzman, The Jerusalem Post, November 6, 2018

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman said he will not let the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi hinder the vision he has for his country, a visiting Evangelical delegation relayed.

“The crown prince called it a heinous act,” Joel Rosenberg, who led the delegation of Evangelical Christians from the US on November 1, told The Jerusalem Post, adding how the Saudi leader is reshaping the Middle East. “He said it was a terrible mistake.”

According to Rosenberg, the Saudi leader was convincing in seeking to put the perpetrators in prison.

“He also wants to keep moving. He doesn’t want it [the killing] to implode his ability to take his country where it wants to go.”

MBS was willing to discuss the killing and understood concerns over it, but wanted to stress that the tragedy would not cause him to stop his reforms. “My enemies are exploiting this to the fullest,” he said.

The crown prince also said the head of Egyptian intelligence recently came to Riyadh, and a terrorist cell with Saudi citizens had been caught in northern Sinai. “They were planning to assassinate me,” MBS told the delegation.

“We must fight the extremists and defeat them or they will stop us and the reforms we are making to make life better for the people of Saudi Arabia,” he said during the historic meeting at the Royal Palace in Riyadh. “We are fighting extremists in the ideological war and we are fighting terrorists in a physical war,” he said, sketching out a plan to bolster an alliance in the region with the US and other Saudi allies.

The visit came at a time of great change in the region. Rosenberg arrived in Riyadh a week after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu returned from Oman and days after Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev was in the United Arab Emirates. It also came in wake of the Manama Dialogue summit where Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir had praised the US for defeating ISIS and confronting Iran.

The crown prince sat for hours with the delegation of Christian leaders. For Rosenberg, a dual US-Israel citizen, it was the culmination of a series of similar discussions. He has met multiple times with….

[To read the rest of the article online, please click here.]

We must stand with and pray for the Christians of Egypt. They just experienced a vicious terror attack. I met with the Coptic Pope and the head of the Egyptian Protestants on Sunday in Cairo in solidarity. Here’s an update.

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(Cairo, Egypt, November 5, 2018) — Completing an 11-day swing to three Arab states — the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Egypt — on Sunday evening I met with Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II, and Dr. Andrea Zaki, head of all the Protestant churches in Egypt. We met in Cairo in the office of His Holiness the Pope.

I expressed to both leaders my deepest condolences for the horrific terrorist attack against Egyptian Christians on Friday in Minya. ISIS jihadists killed seven Christians and wounded 18 more, including children. They were returning from a child’s baptism celebration. Overall the security situation in Egypt has been improving. But this was the deadliest attack against Christians in Egypt this year.

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In addition, I briefed both leaders on the work of our Evangelical Delegation in the region, and particularly on our meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS). Pope Tawadros welcomed the Crown Prince to the church he shepherds earlier this year in an historic and unprecedented moment. I had mentioned to MBS when we met with him on Thursday that I would be seeing the Pope a few days later. It should be noted that the Archbishop of Canterbury in the UK also met with MBS earlier this year in London, which was also unprecedented and very encouraging. (see pictures below.)

Please keep the Christians of Egypt — and all Egyptians — in your prayers as they battle terrorists and extremists and work to transform their society towards a safer and more prosperous future. The Bible is clear: God loves Egypt. We should, too.

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Arab, Israeli & U.S. media report on our Evangelical Delegation’s historic visits to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — overall the coverage was quite fair & positive. Here’s a sampling.

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(Riyadh, Saudi Arabia) — It’s been an extraordinary week traveling into the United Arab Emirates with Evangelical leaders for four days and into Saudi Arabia for three, meeting with the most senior government leaders in both countries. It was the first time either country had ever invited Evangelical leaders to come meet with them and we were humbled to come in the name of Jesus.

We came to listen, to learn, to build bridges of relationship between Muslims and Christians, to be advocates for our Christian brothers and sisters, to explain what it means to be an Evangelical, to answer questions, and to ask questions — direct and sometimes hard questions — on the most sensitive and controversial of issues.

We came not as representatives of the U.S. or Israel or any other country, but as ambassadors of the Lord Jesus Christ. And we were both surprised and encouraged by how warmly we were received. The Crown Princes of both countries each spent two full hours with us. Both let us engage them on everything we came to discuss, without restriction. We asked about the heinous and ghastly murder of Jamal Khashoggi, the lack of any Christian churches in Saudi Arabia, the historic (though steadily changing) Arab hostility to the State of Israel, and a wide range of other human rights and religious liberty issues. We also discussed at length the very real and existential threats posed by Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood and other Radical Islamists to them, to the U.S. and Israel and to the Christian community. And they were candid and direct in their answers.

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We were not clear when we arrived in either countries whether they wanted our visit to be public. In the end, however, both countries issued statements to the press, released photos of our meetings with their leaders, and in so doing sent a strong signal throughout their own media and throughout the Arab and Muslim world that it’s not only acceptable but a good thing for Muslim leaders to meet with devout followers of Jesus Christ and have open and respectful dialogues, even on the most difficult of topics. I’m not sure I can explain just how encouraging this was. I believe speaks of a remarkable new day in the region. More on that in the days ahead.

For now, here’s a sampling of the coverage by Christian, Arab, Israeli, U.S. and other international media. I should note that our visits were viciously attacked by the Iranian press and other extremists who hate Christians and hate the fact that I’m also Jewish believer with Israeli citizenship. And yet our hosts, fully expecting the blowback, remarkably went public with our visits anyway. Did I mention it’s a new day in the region? 

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Coverage of Saudi Visit

 

Coverage of UAE Visit

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American Evangelical leaders met today with His Royal Highness Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS), the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. Here’s the statement we released.

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Greetings from Riyadh, the capital of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. God opened an unusual door this week — our Delegation of Evangelical Christian Leaders was invited to Saudi Arabia to meet with senior leaders.

Today, we had a two-hour meeting at the palace in Riyadh with H.R.H. Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. Please pray for him, his family, his advisors, and for the leaders and people of this important country. Here is the statement our group just released.

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EVANGELICAL DELEGATION MEETS WITH HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS
MOHAMMED BIN SALMAN, CROWN PRINCE OF THE KINGDOM OF SAUDI ARABIA

Following Meetings in Egypt, Jordan and the UAE, American Christian Leaders Turn Their Attention to Saudi Arabia

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, November 1, 2018 – His Royal Highness Mohammed bin Salman, the Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, welcomed to the Royal Palace the first-ever delegation of American Evangelical Christian leaders to engage in dialogue regarding his vision for the Kingdom and the region.

The group, led by New York Times best-selling Joel C. Rosenberg, arrived in Riyadh from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), following similar historic meetings with government and religious leaders, both Muslim and Christian, earlier in the week.

Following the meeting in Riyadh, the delegation issued a joint statement: 

“We were pleased by the invitation extended to us more than two months ago by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It was an historic moment for the Saudi Crown Prince to openly welcome Evangelical Christian leaders to the Palace. We were encouraged by the candor of the two-hour conversation with him today. We discussed his ‘Vision 2030’ plan, the region, Islam and Christianity. Without question, this is a season of tremendous change in the Middle East, and therefore we have been grateful for the opportunity to meet in-person with key Arab leaders to understand their goals and to ask direct questions. We look forward to building upon these relationships and continuing the dialogue.”

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During the visit, the delegation also met with:

  • the Saudi Foreign Minister
  • Minister of Education
  • Minister of Islamic Affairs
  • Secretary General of “Etidal,” The Global Center for Combatting Extremist Ideology
  • Secretary-General of the Muslim World League.

Members of the delegation to Saudi Arabia hosted by Rosenberg included:

  • former U.S. Congresswoman Michele Bachmann
  • Dr. Jerry A. Johnson, president and CEO of National Religious Broadcasters (NRB)
  • Michael Little, former president and COO of The Christian Broadcasting Network
  • Dr. Mike Evans, founder of the Jerusalem Prayer Team
  • Rev. Johnnie Moore, president of The Congress of Christian Leaders
  • Larry Ross, founder of A. Larry Ross Communications
  • Pastor Skip Heitzig, senior pastor of Calvary Albuquerque in New Mexico; and
  • Wayne Pederson, former chairman and CEO of the NRB