joelcrosenberg

Today marks five years since our family made Aliyah & moved to Israel as dual US-Israeli citizens — and I could not be more grateful. A few reflections & some photos.

 Bible Prophecy, Christian World View, Israel  Comments Off on Today marks five years since our family made Aliyah & moved to Israel as dual US-Israeli citizens — and I could not be more grateful. A few reflections & some photos.
Aug 152019
 

19549DD6-4B16-4504-AC08-8DE1F363C827.jpeg

Five years ago, the Lord led us to make Aliyah, becoming dual US-Israeli citizens. What an adventure of faith and challenge it has been.

Packing up our belongings in Northern Virginia and preparing to move to Israel on August 14, 2014, was very exciting, yet honestly we also felt a bit sad leaving the USA. But Lynn’s Mom graciously came with us for three weeks to help us settle in.

BEDDD826-8589-4F7C-8793-1FB042D3FB8F

B678BD40-56AB-4B13-B850-1F1CBDED79B5

We landed in Israel on August 15th and immediately moved into a small apartment in Netanya, just north of Tel Aviv, two blocks from the Mediterranean Sea.

We had no idea of all the trials and hardships ahead. For starters, we landed in the middle of a full-blown war in which terrorists in Gaza were firing more than 4,000 rockets and mortars at innocent Israeli civilians that month. Some of our American friends thought we were crazy for going. Some days we wondered that ourselves.

Five years later, we now live in Jerusalem. We have bought an apartment there. Two of our sons serve in the Israeli army. All of our sons speak Hebrew better than Lynn and me (and Lynn’s Hebrew is definitely better than mine!) Slowly, slowly, we are putting down roots.

For all the many challenges, I can truly say I am deeply grateful that the Lord has given us the courage to obey His calling. I’m so grateful for Lynn’s family and mine who came to visit us in Israel and encourage us — indeed, for the many, many friends and pastors and Evangelical leaders who came and visited us in those early weeks and months, even during the heat of the Gaza war.

I’m grateful, too, for all the lessons that the God of Israel has been teaching us from the Bible and though daily life, and for all the dear and precious friends we have made — both Jews and Arabs, both believers in Jesus and not-yet-believers.

May the King of Israel — the King of the Universe, the King of Glory — have His way with us and teach us the joy of knowing Him, serving Him, clinging to Him, and bearing fruit in His name, come what may!

Jeremiah 32:37-41 — “Behold, I will gather them from all the countries to which I drove them in my anger and my wrath and in great indignation. I will bring them back to this place, and I will make them dwell in safety. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God. I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me forever, for their own good and the good of their children after them. I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me. I will rejoice in doing them good, and I will plant them in this land in faithfulness, with all my heart and all my soul.”

4FA9E8B8-3863-4DED-A7C7-FE45571DE4F6

5F66D267-ED40-4B23-95F1-B33CADEEAB52

804FE4EE-980E-4891-8F00-0CC0707DADB3

BB412E1F-755F-4101-9983-B4DCDBFA2EA6

269FE3B8-C3E9-4FBA-9FD8-66D0EEFDE772

D7FF4B72-C96C-4D6C-8D95-C81DC4D780DD

Photo Descriptions:

• Our family with Lynn’s brother and his family on the Golan Heights.

• Two photos of our family on the United flight from Newark to Tel Aviv on August 14, 2014.

•  Two of our sons and me packing to move to Israel.

•  Our family and Lynn’s Mom having our first dinner in our new apartment upon moving to Israel.

• My parents and my nephew visiting us in Caesarea.

• Our youngest son and me at the beach in Netanya upon arriving in Israel.

• The apartment building where we first lived in Netanya.

• The sign that greeted us when we landed at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv.

—————————-

_____________________

UPCOMING EVENTS:

——————————

Friends of Saudi Arabia will both encourage their reforms & respectfully speak the truth. My latest column for The Jerusalem Post.

 Bible Prophecy, Christian World View, Israel  Comments Off on Friends of Saudi Arabia will both encourage their reforms & respectfully speak the truth. My latest column for The Jerusalem Post.
Aug 142019
 

07B49558-AF32-4175-AC87-ADD3246828DD

(Denver, Colorado) — The Jerusalem Post has just published a new column that I’ve written for them. It is drawn from a blog I wrote last week on recent reforms in Saudi Arabia, but expanded and a bit more detailed.

To read the full column, please click here.

Here are a few excerpts:

• Cutting the Saudis loose – or insisting MBS step down – is not the way forward. We live in an imperfect world. We have to make imperfect choices and work with imperfect allies. But we always can and should urge our friends and allies to do better.

• The White House and US State Department should, therefore, continue publicly standing side-by-side with the Saudis while privately but clearly telling the king and crown prince the truth…..

• Justice must be done in the Khashoggi affair….

• Innocent Saudis who have been unfairly and unnecessarily imprisoned should be released promptly….

• Reforms to dramatically improve social, economic and religious freedom for all Saudis should be accelerated, consistent with Vision 2030 objectives….

• Riyadh would also be wise to take specific, tangible steps towards peace with Israel, consistent with their own national interests.

• Allowing Israeli airlines to fly to and over the kingdom would be a good next step.

• Inviting Israeli journalists to Riyadh to interview senior Saudi officials would also be useful.

• Indeed, inviting a delegation of Jewish leaders from both the US and Israel to meet with Saudi royals would be a very encouraging move, just as they invited me last year to bring the first-ever delegation of Evangelical leaders to meet with MBS and other senior officials.

• Given the growing Iran threat, and the importance of fighting terrorism and making regional peace, the US-Saudi alliance must be strengthened. This will be immensely easier to accomplish if Americans see Riyadh making far more progress on the reform front….

—————————-

_____________________

UPCOMING EVENTS:

——————————

BREAKING: 18-year old Israeli Jewish student stabbed to death by terrorist. Massive manhunt for killer underway. Here’s the latest. Please pray.

 Bible Prophecy, Christian World View, Israel  Comments Off on BREAKING: 18-year old Israeli Jewish student stabbed to death by terrorist. Massive manhunt for killer underway. Here’s the latest. Please pray.
Aug 082019
 

5B5754DD-DFC2-4667-89DC-3B225703433F

Yesterday, Lynn and I spent an hour meeting with Oded Revivi, the Mayor of the Israeli city of Efrat, located next to Bethlehem, and two of his advisors.

Afterwards, we spent about 90 minutes with Rabbi Shlomo Riskin — the Chief Rabbi of Efrat and one of the community’s founders — and David Nekrutman, the executive director of the Center for Jewish Christian Understanding. (The city is mentioned in the Book of Micah chapter 5 as “Bethlehem Ephratah.”)

We were deeply grateful to Mayor, Rabbi and the others for their hospitality and outreach to Evangelicals.

33016642-83AE-4182-A56F-3F017A9BFD2BJust a few hours after Lynn and I left Efrat, however, a terrible tragedy happened right near Efrat, in an area known as Gush Etzion.

“The body of a yeshiva student who had been stabbed to death was discovered outside a settlement in the Gush Etzion area of the West Bank in the predawn hours of Thursday morning, prompting a massive manhunt for the killer,” reported the Times of Israel.

“The victim, who was later identified Dvir Sore….was studying at the Machanayim religious seminary in (a nearby) settlement, and had joined the military while continuing his studies, in a program known in Hebrew as hesder. Though formally a soldier, he was unarmed and not in uniform at the time of the attack, nor had he undergone military training.” He will be buried at 8pm tonight, Israel time.

I ask Christians all over the world to pray for the family and friends of this young man and for all the people of Efrat and the neighboring communities — that the Lord would comfort all who are grieving. “The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble,” we are promised in Psalm 9:9.

Please also pray for peace between Jewish and Arab villages south of Jerusalem and throughout the Land, and wisdom for Israeli and Palestinian leaders. This is just the kind of incident that could rapidly escalate into worsening violence in the heat of summer and as we head into national elections in Israel in September 17. Please share this with others and encourage them to pray, as well. Thank you.

The Saudis announce important new reforms to empower women — not enough, but noteworthy. Here’s the latest.

 Bible Prophecy, Christian World View, Israel  Comments Off on The Saudis announce important new reforms to empower women — not enough, but noteworthy. Here’s the latest.
Aug 082019
 

918A4749-8498-4EB0-9BC0-D4F856D20F94

Important news out of Saudi Arabia: the Kingdom last week announced a series of sweeping reforms aimed at empowering women.

It’s not nearly enough, but these are noteworthy and important moves after a toxic and painful year in Saudi Arabia.

Some thoughts.

In 2017 and 2018, at the direction of His Majesty King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, (MBS), the Saudis embarked on a series of high-profile and quite positive social and economic reforms that richly captured global attention and praise.

Unfortunately, the effect of these reforms was seriously marred by the Kingdom’s crackdown on dissent and political activity.

Then, all reform in the Kingdom came to a screeching halt after the heinous and unconscionable murder of Saudi dissident and journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul in October 2018. The Royal Palace became consumed by the international firestorm over the murder and could focus on little else.

MBS has denied ordering the murder. Still, 11 Saudi officials were arrested, indicted and charged in Riyadh with murdering Khashoggi. Five Saudi officials currently face the death penalty. The U.S. also rightly imposed sanctions on 17 Saudi officials for their alleged involvement in the horrific plot.

Many questions remain over who ordered the murder and why. The Kingdom’s reputation in Washington and many world capitals has taken a catastrophic hit. And many commentators have openly speculated that MBS might be removed from the line of succession and his Vision 2030 blueprint for reform might be scrapped altogether.

That said, last week provided significant evidence that MBS still has his father’s confidence and that the Vision 2030 reforms are once again moving forward.

The following are excerpts from a message sent to me by a senior Saudi source:

“You may have seen the reports about the Kingdom’s decision to remove the obstacles on women’s mobility. I wanted to make sure that you saw (the details)….This decision affirms the Kingdom’s commitment to its vision in realizing the full potential of Saudi women, and their full integration into our society. This is driven by our leadership’s belief that the empowerment of women is a central pillar of Vision 2030, that we cannot move forward if half of the population does not enjoy equal rights before the law, and that our development goals are unattainable without gender equality.”

“This decision, significant as it may be, is only one part of the long line of decisions that demonstrate our leadership’s commitment to the empowerment of women under Vision 2030 and improving the quality of life for all people in the country,” the source added. “These reforms so far have included sweeping reforms to empower Saudi women, (such as)….”

‏• Independence. At age 22, women (and men) are free to work and travel without approval of a guardian.

• Equality. Women are guaranteed equal protection and equal pay in the workplace.

• Status. Women can finally be considered “head of the household” according to the law.

• Empowerment. Women can now fully and independently manage legal and business affairs.

Reuters provided more details on the extent of the reforms:

  • “Saudi Arabia has allowed adult women to travel without permission and granted them more control over family matters, further eroding a heavily criticized male guardianship system at a time of heightened scrutiny over its human rights record.
  • “A series of royal decrees published by the official gazette on Friday stipulated that a Saudi passport should be issued to any citizen who applies for it and that any person above the age of 21 does not need permission to travel.
  • “The amendments to regulations also grant women for the first time the right to register child birth, marriage or divorce and to be issued official family documents and be eligible as a guardian to children who are minors….
  • “Riyadh has long endured international censure over the status of women, who rights groups say are often treated as second-class citizens under rules requiring them to get the consent of a male guardian for important decisions throughout their entire lives, regardless of age. Muna AbuSulayman, a prominent Saudi influencer and a former talk show host, took to Twitter along with thousands of Saudi women to celebrate what many described as a new era. ‘A generation growing up completely free and equal to their brothers,’ she said, referring to the freedom to travel…..”

I have been deeply grieved by the events of the past year in Riyadh. We may live in an imperfect world and have to make imperfect choices, but we must always urge our friends and allies to do better.

Justice must be done in the Khashoggi affair.

Innocent Saudis who have been unfairly and unnecessarily imprisoned should be released promptly. Why undermine smart reforms with repressive moves impossible to explain to the very governments, CEOs and investors needed to help the Kingdom advance?

Reforms to dramatically improve social, economic and religious freedom for all Saudis should be accelerated, consistent with Vision 2030 objectives. True reform is the only way forward.

And given the growing Iran threat, and the importance of fighting terrorism and making regional peace, the U.S.-Saudi alliance should be strengthened. This will be easier to accomplish if Washington sees Riyadh making much more progress on the reform front in the last half of 2019.

—————————-

_____________________

UPCOMING EVENTS:

——————————

Next week, I’ll speak in Denver on the growing Iran threat, “The Persian Gamble” & the future of Israel and the Arab world. Please register and join us.

 Bible Prophecy, Christian World View, Israel  Comments Off on Next week, I’ll speak in Denver on the growing Iran threat, “The Persian Gamble” & the future of Israel and the Arab world. Please register and join us.
Aug 062019
 

PERSIAN-FoxNews

On Thursday evening, August 15th, I’ll be speaking in the Denver area on the rising prospect of a war with Iran, and my thriller, The Persian Gamble.

The occasion will be the annual fundraising event for Ministry Architecture, Inc. This is the ministry that my parents — Len and Mary Rosenberg — started some two decades ago. They provide architectural services for Evangelical Christian ministries operating in developing countries who need orphanages, training centers, medical missionary hospitals, and other facilities to show the love of Jesus.

Before I speak, my folks will share about the exciting work God is doing through this ministry. Then I will discuss the latest developments in Iran, Israel and the broader Middle East, and answer your questions — always my favorite part of the evening. I’ll be signing copies of my most recent novel, as well.

The event will take place at Calvary Chapel South Denver in Littleton, Colorado, from 7:00pm to 9:15pm. Doors will open at 6:15pm. Suggested minimum contribution is $30 per person and goes to support Ministry Architecture. This amount is 100% tax deductible. Registration  for the event is required, and you can register at www.ministryarchitecture.com.

Please register today by clicking here — I hope to see you there!

—————————-

____________________

——————————