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“The Persian Gamble” named one of the “top 5 political thrillers” of 2019. And a new Jerusalem Post review calls it “riveting,” “un-put-downable” and “highly recommended.”

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(Washington, D.C.) — This week, the leading website reviewing and covering all news related to mystery, spy and thriller novels — The Real Book Spy — published its list of the best of 2019. A few excerpts:

  • What a year it’s been for action-packed, high-flying thrillers. Thankfully, 2020 is gearing up to be another special year for readers, but before we officially turn the page and focus on the new year, here’s one last look at the very best this year had to offer….
  • The Persian Gamble by Joel C. Rosenberg: Known for writing plots that have a tendency to one day come true, Rosenberg’s right on the money again with this one. Not only is it ripped-from-the-headlines, but it’s also wildly entertaining and a ton of fun to read. 

I’m grateful to Ryan Steck, editor of the site — very honored to be included with best thriller writers in the business.

In addition, The Jerusalem Post just published a positive review. Excerpts:

  • The Persian Gamble is…riveting….fast-moving….entirely-plausible….constructed with very short and sharp chapters — 93 of them. As a result, the reader is kept on the alert, reluctant to leave the story, turning time and again to the next short chapter eager to follow one incident on to the next. The Persian Gamble is a thriller that falls within the category of ‘un-put-downable.’ It is highly recommended.”

For those who haven’t read it yet, or want to purchase it for Christmas gifts, The Persian Gamble is now available in paperback (as well as e-books and on audio). And The Jerusalem Assassin will be releasing on March 17th. (see below)

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BREAKING: Blowout in Britain. Boris Johnson and his conservatives win massive victory. Jewish & Israeli leaders rejoice as Jeremy Corbyn, “anti-Semitic” British Labour leader, says he will step down. Here’s what you should know.

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(Washington, D.C.) — A stunning, encouraging night in British politics.

  •  Biggest defeat in the history of the British Labour Party
  •  Biggest victory for conservatives since Thatcher
  •  Resounding mandate for Johnson to finish Brexit
  •  Expect a US-UK free trade deal in 2020
  •  British Jews and Israeli leaders are breathing a huge sigh of relief

“Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Conservative Party won a commanding majority in the British Parliament, a striking victory that redraws the lines in British politics and paves the way for the country’s exit from the European Union early next year,” reports the New York Times this morning.

“The Conservatives were projected to win 364 seats in the House of Commons, versus 203 for the Labour Party, according to the BBC, with almost all of Parliament’s seats decided,” the Times noted. “That would give the Conservatives about a 75-seat majority, their largest since that amassed by Margaret Thatcher in 1987.”

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This Christmas, give your family the gift of Israel & Egypt! Come join Lynn and me on The Joshua Fund’s next “Prayer & Vision Trip” in October 2020 and watch the Bible come alive in ways you've never imagined. Reserve your place today!

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Looking for a great gift, one sure to create memories that will last a lifetime?

This Christmas, give your family the gift of Israel and Egypt!

Lynn and I cordially invite you to join us and our board and staff for The Joshua Fund’s next “Prayer & Vision Tour,” taking place from October 13th through the 24th, 2020.

If you’ve never been to the Holy Land, it’s hard to describe what a profound spiritual effect such a journey can have on you and your family. You may have heard people say that 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, and we would love to share it all with you.

Plus, for the first time ever, we hope to offer an optional “Egypt Extension” from October 24-27, 2020. Come explore the land of legendary Pharaohs. Visit the Pyramids. Take a dinner cruise on the Nile. See mummies and other ancient artifacts in Cairo’s famous Egyptian Museum. Learn the Biblical history and prophetic future of this remarkable country. And meet and pray for Egyptian Christians.

What better time to sharpen our spiritual eyesight than in the year 2020!

If you’ve been to Israel before, this trip will be a great opportunity to deepen your understanding of how powerfully the Lord is moving there. After all, this tour is like no other. You’ll have the opportunity to meet with and pray for local Israeli and Palestinian pastors and ministry leaders — both Jewish and Arab — 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.

Nothing says “Merry Christmas” like coming as a family to the Land of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, Jesus and the Twelve. Please prayerfully consider joining us. Lynn I would so love to see you here in Israel and in Egypt in 2020!

To view the brochure, please click here.

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

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Third time’s a charm? Unable to form a government, Israel forced to hold 3rd round of elections. Vote set for March 2. And Netanyahu suddenly has a serious new challenger. Here’s what we know.

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(Washington, D.C.) — It’s Groundhog Day in Israel, again.

Remember the hilarious 1993 movie in which Bill Murray plays a local TV weatherman from Pittsburgh who keeps waking up in the same hotel and every day he’s required to cover the Groundhog Day festivities in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, and it’s a loop from which he can never seem to get out? 

Welcome to the election cycle in Israel. Except that it’s not quite so funny.

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Here’s what we know at this hour: Israel is the only true democracy in the Middle East — we love elections so much we’ve had two rounds in 2019. That’s never happened before in Israeli history. Now we are going to a third round — on March 2

Here’s why:

  • Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu — Israel’s longest serving Prime Minister — is losing his political hold on the country.
  • Twice this year, Bibi has failed to secure enough seats for his Likud Party and his center-right allies to form a governing coalition.
  • After Bibi failed the second time, Bibi’s main opposition party challenger — former IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz — was given the opportunity to form a governing coalition, after Bibi failed. However, Gantz failed, as well.
  • Meanwhile, Israel’s Attorney General recently indicted Netanyahu in three separate cases involving alleged bribery, fraud and breach of trust. 
  • Polls show that Israelis overwhelmingly want two things.
  • First, they want Netanyahu to step down to focus on his legal troubles, not serve as PM will under indictment.
  • Second, they want the two major parties — Likud and Gantz’s Blue & White party — to form a national unity government in which Gantz would serve as PM for two years and then rotate to the head of Likud being PM for two years.
  • Bibi, as you can imagine, doesn’t want to step aside.
  • But Gantz refuses to create a deal with Bibi while Bibi is under indictment.

Now, enter a new dynamic: Bibi suddenly has a serious new challenger within Likud.

  • Gideon Sa’ar, one of Likud’s most popular and effective Members of Knesset who has served as Education Minister and the Interior Minister, has called for snap leadership primaries.
  • But shrewdly, Sa’ar is not focusing on Bibi’s legal troubles.
  • Rather, he is making the case to fellow Likudniks that Bibi needs to be replaced because he has lost two elections in a row, has failed to form a governing coalition two times in a row, and has no better prospects of winning an election and creating such a coalition via a third election.
  • Indeed, Sa’ar is arguing that Likud could get shellacked in March, punished by voters for driving the nation to a third election.
  • [Here’s an interesting new interview with Sa’ar — worth reading to become more familiar with him.]

It’s too early to say whether Likud party members are ready to say goodbye to Bibi. However, here are two last things you should know.

  • First, it appears that Likud is going to have a leadership primary on December 26. Bibi’s allies are understandably trying to scuttle that. But if the primary does happen, we’ll know very soon whether Bibi will lead Likud going forward, or whether Sa’ar (or someone else) will emerge on top.
  • Second, a new poll does, in fact, suggest that in the next election, public support for Likud may drop significantly, and support for Gantz’s party could surge. “According to Channel 13, if the election were held today, Blue & White…would win 37 seats, compared to 33 for the Likud.”  
  • Watch for a rash of more polls to come out in the coming days. If evidence grows that the public is turning against Likud with Bibi’s at its helm, this could significantly influence voters in the Likud internal primary. 
  • That said, Likudniks historically are very loyal. Bibi has been their guy for the last 10 years, and been one of the most popular officials in Likud for three decades, having also served as PM from 1996 to 1999. Bibi is also a very effective political infighter. He hasn’t stayed on top this long for no reason.

Bottom line: Please pray for Israel during this vulnerable, volatile season. We do not have an effective, functioning national government. We have a very experience Prime Minister who is suddenly under indictment and in real political trouble and thus at risk of becoming distracted. And we have very real and dangerous enemies angling to take advantage of the situation. May the Lord have mercy on us at this time.

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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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