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Evangelicals, Saudis & cyborgs: A conversation with MBS — The Crown Prince is spearheading a massive transformation of his kingdom toward moderate Islam and a peaceful, technologically advanced future. But there are real risks related to artificial intelligence. (An op-ed by my son, Jacob.)

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(Washington, D.C.) — This week, The Jerusalem Post published an op-Ed by our 23-year old son, Jacob. It’s the first Jacob has ever written and while I am, admittedly, biased, it’s quite good. What’s more, the subject is both important and timely.  

The following are a few excerpts. To read the full column, please click here. I hope you’ll take the time to read the whole thing and to share it on social media. Thanks.

The term “cyborg” is not one you might expect to hear spoken in a meeting with the royalty of the world’s most powerful Muslim country, Saudi Arabia. But the leadership of Saudi Arabia is charting a course to a new future, and artificial intelligence is central to it.

The conversation took place while I was on a trip with my father, author Joel C. Rosenberg, who’d been invited by the kingdom to lead a delegation of American Evangelical Christian leaders to meet with top Saudi officials, Muslim clerics and Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, commonly referred to as “MBS”….

Having read that Saudi Arabia had become the first country to grant citizenship to a robot (back in 2017), I asked the crown prince if he was concerned that artificial intelligence (AI) was a potential future threat. He answered by….

(photo credit: Faisal al Nasser, Reuters)

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Come invest in The Joshua Fund this #GivingTuesday! Come help us preach the Word, care for the needy & strengthen the disciples of Jesus in Israel & the Arab world.

We give because God gave first. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him wouldn’t perish, but would have eternal life.”( John 3:16)

On this Giving Tuesday, we are giving thanks to God for you! More Jews and Arabs than ever in history are building friendships with followers of Jesus. Many see Christians as faithful friends and loving neighbors. Many Jews and Arabs are even becoming disciples of Jesus. Many, many more are becoming curious. They want to read the Bible and consider the claims of Jesus. And they have lots of questions.

Your faithful prayers and generous financial investments enable us to bless Israel and her neighbors in the name of Jesus. Together, we’re helping to strengthen and encourage the pastors and ministry leaders in Israel & the Arab world. Together, we’re helping local believers obey the Lord and make an enormous impact for the Kingdom of Christ in one of the world’s most complex and troubled regions.

This year’s Donor Report explains how your help is changing lives and growing the Church in the Epicenter. Please take some time to read through it and share it with others. And please take a moment today to make a financial investment in The Joshua Fund that will bear eternal fruit.

L Thanks so much, and may God bless you and your family!

To read The Joshua Fund 2019 Donor Report online, please click here.

Would you like to make a year-end, secure, tax deductible investment in The Joshua Fund (www.joshuafund.net)? Come help us educate and mobilize Christians to bless Israel and her neighbors in the name of Jesus, strengthen the Church in the Epicenter, preach the Gospel, teach the Word of God, care for the poor and needy in Israel (both Jews and Arabs) with food and other humanitarian relief, care for Holocaust survivors, and care for Syrian and Iraqi refugees and others. The Joshua Fund is a member in good standing of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability. Please click here to learn more. Thanks so much.

Give the gift of Marcus Ryker this Christmas! Give your family and friends “The Persian Gamble” and “The Jerusalem Assassin.” Here’s how.

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(Jerusalem, Israel) — Looking for great gifts now that Thanksgiving is over?

Give your friends and family the latest adventures of former Marine and U.S. Secret Service agent, Marcus Ryker.

High-speed, high-octane thrills without the high price.

My latest Ryker novel, The Persian Gamble, is now out paperback and sells for only $16.99. The next Ryker thriller, The Jerusalem Assassin, releases next Spring in hardcover for only $25. Wrap the first one and put it under the tree, and attach a card explaining the second one will arrive on their doorstep on March 17th! What could be better?

(If they don’t have The Kremlin Conspiracy — the first in the Ryker series — you can get that in paperback, too, for under $15.)

After all, nothing says “Happy Holidays” like explosions, assassinations, car chases, and Marcus Ryker trying to protect us from nuclear annihilation.

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Now what? Netanyahu indicted. Gantz fails to form government. Iran threat rising. Where does Israel go from here?

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(Jerusalem, Israel) — This has been a crazy week in Israel, and people are asking me what’s coming next. Here’s a rudimentary road map. Just keep in mind there are likely to be lots of roadblocks and detours ahead.

  1. On Wednesday night, Benny Gantz — head of the Blue & White centrist party — informed Israeli President Ruvi Rivlin that he was not able to form a government. This follows Netanyahu failing to form a government a month earlier.
  2. On Thursday morning, Rivlin informed Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein that a 21-day period now begins in which any Member of the Parliament can try to gather 61 signatures from fellow MKs to form a government and become Prime Minister.
  3. In theory, this meant both Netanyahu and Gantz could keep looking for ways to become PM — including forming a unity government in which the two would rotate the premiership.
  4. Then came the bombshell — on Thursday night, Attorney General Mandelblit (pictured) announced that after more than a year of deliberations he had decided to formally indict Netanyahu on bribery, fraud and breach of trust charges in three separate criminal cases.
  5. There is a strong likelihood that no one will be able to form a government in this 21 day period — if not, Israel will go to a stunning third round of elections. If this happens, the election would likely be held in March 2020.
  6. Recent polls are clear: most Israelis do not want a third election and plan to punish any candidate or party they perceive as having pushed the country down that road.
  7. This could cut hard against Bibi. The latest poll finds that 49% of Israelis blame Netanyahu for failing to agree to a unity government. Only 25% blame Gantz. Even 36% of right-wing voters blame Netanyahu.
  8. Actually, the situation is even more serious for Netanyahu. A new poll asks, “What should Netanyahu do after indictment?” 46% of Israelis say “Resign.” Only 30% say “Stay on until verdict.” Some 17% say, “Recuse himself.” Another 7% say they “Don’t know.” Remarkably, 30% of right-wing voters say “Resign.”
  9. Legally, Netanyahu should absolutely be considered innocent unless or until he is proven guilty in a court of law. Expect him to mount a vigorous defense in the media and the courtroom, even while employing many delaying tactics to slow down the legal process. He will also appeal to a Knesset Committee that has the power to issue him temporary immunity, so long as he serves as Prime Minister, further delaying the legal process.
  10. Politically, however, every supporter of Netanyahu is slowly — reluctantly — beginning to realize that he may be forced to step down, or even legally prevented from trying to form a new government.
  11. Without getting too technical here, let’s just note that Israel has never had a sitting Prime Minister be indicted. These are uncharted waters. And the big question is whether members of his own Likud Party will, at some point, make the following case: “Bibi, we’re sure that you’re innocent. But you cannot divide your days both defending yourself and the country. It’s too much for one man, and the public won’t stand for it. For the good of the country — and the good of the party —you need to step down, clear your name, and then come back into the political sphere.” 
  12. I can’t say how this will play out. No one knows. But our enemies — especially Iran, a grave and rising threat — are watching all this closely and could be tempted to take advantage of Israel’s political division and confusion. I ask you to be praying for Israel and for our leaders. And buckle up. The only thing that is clear is that the road ahead will be quite bumpy.

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BREAKING: Israeli Attorney General announces Netanyahu to stand trial for bribery, fraud and breach of trust. Here’s what we know so far.

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(Jerusalem, Israel) — A legal and political bombshell just went off in Israel tonight.

“In a decision that drastically shakes up Israeli politics amid already ongoing chaos, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit announced Thursday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be charged with criminal wrongdoing in three separate cases against him, including bribery in the far-reaching Bezeq corruption probe,” reports the Times of Israel.

“The decision marks the first time in Israel’s history that a serving prime minister faces criminal charges, casting a heavy shadow over Netanyahu and his ongoing attempts to remain in power,” the Times added.

Netanyahu will be charged with fraud and breach of trust in Cases 1000 and 2000, and bribery, fraud and breach of trust in Case 4000, the state prosecution said in a statement as Mandelblit was set to address the press in his office in the Justice Ministry in Jerusalem at 7:30 p.m.”

Developing — I’ll post more updates on this breaking story on Twitter.

 

 

 

Very good news: Palestinian Authority officially recognizes Palestinian Evangelical Council of Churches after 12 year effort. Here’s the latest.

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(Jericho, Palestinian Authority) — It is my deep conviction that Evangelicals in North America and around the world who love Israel and the Jewish people must also love all Arabs, including the Palestinian people.

The Bible is crystal clear: God loves all people everywhere. God most certainly loves the Palestinians. Indeed, He cares for them immensely and wants followers of Jesus to care for them, encourage them and pray for them.

The Lord especially wants us to stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in the Palestinian Evangelical churches. We may not agree on everything theologically or geopolitically. Nor do they agree with us on everything. That’s okay. We can still live our neighbor and be committed to the kind of spiritual unity and fellowship that the Lord Jesus speaks of in John chapter 17.

To this end, I have some very encouraging news to share with you. God is showing His favor on Palestinian Evangelicals this month, and I wanted you to be aware of this news and rejoice over it.

“The Palestinian Authority has officially granted legal recognition to a regional evangelical group,” reports the Christian Post. “For years, the Council of Local Evangelical Churches in the Holy Land had operated in the West Bank, but without official recognition from the government….(Yet) Council President Munir Kakish announced at the World Evangelical Association (WEA) General Assembly held Nov. 7-12 near Jakarta, Indonesia, that the PA had finally granted his organization legal recognition.”

Munir Kakish, who pastors an Evangelical Church in Ramallah, has become a dear friend over the years, and I was so encouraged to get a direct report from him on all these developments. After all, I have been praying with him and his colleagues about such things for at least eight years.

Here are the remarks Pastor Munir gave at the WEA meeting. Please read them and share them with others. Please join me in thanking the Lord for this decision by the PA, and join me, too, in praying daily for the Palestinian churches to grow in depth, boldness and numbers.

“Good morning, I am Pastor Munir Kakish and I represent the Council of Local Evangelical Churches in Palestine (the West Bank), Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. We are the united voice of the Evangelicals in Palestine.  

“We are committed to supporting those who are in Palestinian leadership positions through our prayers.   We are against injustice, tyranny, violence and racism and are for fairness, justice and peace for our Palestinian people.

“The council has been requesting official recognition from the Palestinian authorities to grant us our civil rights. Bishop Tendero  helped by visiting the authorities in order for them to grant us legal recognition. We appreciate his help.

“Just last week the Palestinian Authorities granted the Evangelicals legal recognition.

“Previously, we could not grant marriage licenses. Now ourlicenses are legally recognized.

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“Previously, our churches could not open bank accounts. Now a church can open a bank account.

“Previously, we could not register land or church properties in the name of the Church.  Now our churches are able to legally purchase land.

“We have been granted our full civil rights as a religious organization.

“This is a historic moment as other countries nearby do not have recognition and this places the Palestine Authority as a leader for religious freedom in the area.

“Here is the presidential decree signed by the Palestinian President, President Mahmoud Abbas!  I have worked for 12 years to obtain this decree.  

“Our hearts are full of thankfulness to God for this new declaration.

“We also want to thank President Mahmoud Abbas and Dr. Ramzi Khoury for making the Evangelicals a legal organization in Palestine.

I urge you, pray for the Palestinian authorities and the Palestinian people.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!  Thank you.”

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BREAKING: After 450 rockets fired at Israel — and intense Israeli retaliation — terrorists accept ceasefire in Gaza. But please keep praying. Here’s the latest.

72546B5B-7263-45B1-AC04-21EA9A4C104F(Jerusalem, Israel) — After several days of intense fighting, a cease-fire is in now place between Israel and the “Islamic Jihad” terrorist faction in Gaza.

The truce, brokered by Egyptian intelligence, was set to begin at 5:30am local time. It was broken by the terrorists, but as of 3pm local time now appears to be holding. 

“A spokesperson for the Israeli military said that around 450 rockets had been launched toward Israel during the recent escalation, of which 60% landed in open fields and 90% of the remainder were intercepted,” reported the Times of Israel.

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In the face of this week’s fighting, I ask Christians around the world to pray for:

  • calm and security to be fully restored on both sides of the border
  • the Lord to comfort all Israelis and Palestinians who have been emotionally traumatized and physically wounded by the fighting
  • the Lord to show mercy to the families of the 34 Palestinians killed in the fighting, 25 of whom were confirmed terrorists
  • all Israeli and Palestinian children to be especially comforted — schools have been closed for the last three days and millions of kids have been huddled in basements and bomb shelters, alternately battling both fear and boredom
  • the Jewish and Arab followers of Jesus in the Land to know how best to show compassion to their people and to have opportunities to be bold witnesses for the Lord — the people of this region so desperately need to know and experience the Good News of Jesus Christ.
  • the Lord to give The Joshua Fund board and staff wisdom to know how best to be a blessing and comfort to those on both sides of the conflict.

Thanks so much. (For the latest updates and breaking news, please follow me on Twitter.)

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BREAKING: ASSASSINATION OF ISLAMIC JIHAD LEADER IN GAZA TRIGGERS WAVES OF ROCKETS AGAINST ISRAEL

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(Herzliya, Israel) — Multiple barrages of rockets are being fired at Israel at this hour after Islamic Jihad commander was killed by the Israeli military in the Gaza Strip.

Israeli reporter Eylon Levy is reporting that “the IDF and Shin Bet attacked overnight a building with PIJ (Palestinian Islamic Jihad) commander Baha Abu Al Ata.” He adds that Al Ata was “a ticking bomb,” according to IDF, and peparing to “commit immediate terror attacks in various ways.”

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For the latest updates on this fast moving story, please follow me on Twitter.

Please pray for the protection of innocent civilians and for calm to be quickly restored on both sides of the border.

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Why should Israel appoint an Ambassador to the Christians? And is peace between Israel & the Gulf States closer at hand than most critics think? (Video of my briefing to the #ChristianMediaSummit in Jerusalem.)

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(Jerusalem, Israel) — On Monday, I was honored to address more than 150 Christian journalists, broadcasters, authors and media executives from more than 30 countries who have come to Jerusalem for the Israeli government’s 3rd annual Christian Media Summit.

I briefed the group on two topics:

1. My recent column in The Jerusalem Post calling for the next Israeli government to appoint an Ambassador the Christian community. After making it clear that I’m not interested in the position for myself — just trying to build broad-based support throughout the Israeli political spectrum for the concept — I laid out why we need such a position and how I see some of the key qualifications for the role.

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2. How doors are opening for Evangelical leaders — including some from Israel — to build relationships with senior Sunni Arab leaders in the region. I briefly described the Delegations that I’ve led to the Arab world over the past two years and why I’m cautiously optimistic that the prospect for peace between Israel and several of the Gulf States is actually increasing, despite all the naysayers.

To watch the briefing (which runs about 17 minutes), please click here. 

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Join Lynn and me on The Joshua Fund’s next “Prayer & Vision Trip” to Israel in October 2020 — and on our first-ever extension tour to Egypt!

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(Jerusalem, Israel) — It is with great excitement about God’s love for the people of Israel and her neighbors that I cordially invite you to join us for The Joshua Fund’s next “Prayer & Vision Tour to Israel.” It will be held October 13-24, 2020.

We are also hoping to offer — for the first time ever — an optional Egypt Extension from October 24-27, 2020. Explore the land of legendary Pharaohs and timeless treasures. Egypt’s rich history and fascinating culture will be on display, as we visit the Pyramids and view ancient artifacts in Cairo’s famous Egyptian Museum.

If you have never been to the Holy Land, it is hard to describe what a profound spiritual effect such a journey can have on you and your family. You may have heard people say God’s Word seemed to “come alive” in a new way when they walked where Jesus walked, from the shores of Galilee to the Mount of Olives and into the streets of Jerusalem. It’s true.

What better time to sharpen our spiritual eyesight than in the year 2020! I believe our upcoming Israel trip will allow you to see and experience for yourself, as well as intensify your desire to walk more closely with Jesus Christ.

If you have been to Israel before, this trip will be a great opportunity to deepen your understanding of how powerfully the Lord is moving there.

And this tour is like no other. You will have the opportunity to meet with and pray for local pastors and ministry leaders on the frontlines of the faith, as well as participate in a practical ministry project to bless the poor and needy. I will also teach at key locations and answer your questions about the future of the Epicenter. Please prayerfully consider joining us. Lynn I would love to see you here in Israel and hopefully in Egypt!

To view the brochure, please click here.

To watch a video, learn more details, and to register, please click here.

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