May 14, 2008

Bush in Israel to Celebrate 60th

By Joel Rosenberg

Happy Birthday, Israel! Today marks the 60th anniversary of the dramatic rebirth of the modern State of Israel -- on the Western (solar) calendar, anyway. Israelis go by a lunar calendar, so the festivities began last week. President Bush is in the Holy Land today and tomorrow, the second time this year. He has been meeting with President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, and other key Israeli leaders.

Tomorrow, he will address a special session of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament. Then, the President heads to Saudi Arabia and a peace summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. I suspect Mr. Bush may also make a surprise visit to Iraq. Please pray for President Bush’s safety during this important trip.

As I write this, a new headline has just hit the wires: “Rocket Hits as Bush Begins Israel Visit.” Excerpts: “A rocket launched from Gaza struck a shopping mall in southern Israel on Wednesday, hours before President Bush, here on a visit to mark the 60th anniversary of Israel’s founding, was to address a major peace conference here called ‘Facing Tomorrow.’ At least three people, two women and a girl, were seriously injured, rescue officials said, according to The Associated Press. Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility.” Please pray for safety and peace for some 500,000 Israelis who live on or near the southern border with Gaza. Pray for the doctors and staff at the Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon, the only hospital in the region, as they treat the wounded and those suffering post-traumatic stress disorder. Please also pray that the Lord would give great wisdom and discernment to U.S., Israeli, Palestinian and other regional leaders to know best how to bring about true peace, justice and security to the region – and avoid making the mistakes of the past and falling into traps of the enemy who claim to want peace but actually want to murder Jews and Christians and desecrate the Holy Land.

Even as he faces serious corruption charges and the collapse of his coalition government, Mr. Olmert and his staff seem ready -- even eager -- to give away the strategic Golan Heights, the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) and even divide Jerusalem and allow part of it to become the capital of a Muslim Palestinian state. This would be a grave error, and put more innocent civilians in danger.

FYI: On Monday I made a quick and unexpected trip out to Colorado Springs at the invitation of Focus on the Family. Several colleagues and I spent the afternoon with Dr. James Dobson and his staff discussing recent events in the Middle East and what may be coming up over the horizon. Then Dr. Dobson and I taped two radio programs with our mutual friend Tom Doyle, author of a wonderful book called, Two Nations Under God: Why Should America Care About Israel and the Middle East. Together, we explored the Bible theology of the miraculous and prophetic rebirth of the modern State of Israel 60 years ago this week, God’s everlasting and unconditional love and plan for the Jewish people and all the people of the epicenter, the prophecies concerning Israel's future, the work of The Joshua Fund, and some of the ways that evangelical Christians can pray for the epicenter and bless Israel and her neighbors in the name of Jesus. We also briefly discussed Dead Heat and our mutual prayer that none of it come true, and I gave Dr. Dobson a signed copy. For those who are interested, the Focus on the Family radio shows on Israel will run this Thursday (tomorrow) and Friday. Please tune in on your local Christian radio station, or go to to listen on-line.