Saturday, September 08, 2007


Blessing Israel
by Stephen Adams
Citizen Magazine
September 2007

Golan Heights, northern Israel -- On a quiet spring afternoon, 43 Americans stand at the edge of a cliff from which they can see Mount Hermon and, in the far distance, Syria. The gentle breezes and bird songs make it hard to believe that just a few months ago a thousand Hezbollah rockets from beyond the barbed wire along the border with Lebanon brought smoke and thunder to the nearby village of Kiryat Shmona.

Tomorrow or next month at this very spot, the Americans might see the rockets’ red glare for themselves, says their tour guide — Joel C. Rosenberg, political consultant, fiction writer and founder of The Joshua Fund, a ministry to the Middle East. “I’m telling you right now the nations of the world are converging around Israel. They are preparing for something very specific. The enemies of Israel are preparing for massive, massive war.”

Rosenberg lives in the Washington, D.C., area with his wife and four sons. His Jewish grandparents fled to America to escape Russian persecution in the early 20th century. He worked for Rush Limbaugh and former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before writing a series of best-selling novels (The Last Jihad, The Last Days, The Ezekiel Option and The Copper Scroll). He’s addressed members of Congress and staffers at the White House, Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security.

Rosenberg joined Dr. James C. Dobson of Focus on the Family for a series of radio broadcasts in May on the threat of radical Islam and how Christians should respond. Those shows proved so popular with listeners that they are scheduled to air again Sept. 9-14.

Rosenberg visited the Golan Heights in May to deliver a message, but also to bless poor and needy Jewish and Arab families and those who are victims of war and terrorism.

He brought with him to the mountaintop members of Calvary Chapel of Rio Rancho, N.M. — the first American church to join him in a relief effort he calls The Joshua Fund.
“Historically, it is not normal that Gentiles want to love Jewish people,” Rosenberg told the church group. “God is beginning to cause Jewish people and evangelicals to make common cause, to become at least friends. And I don’t have enough experience to explain why now, except for the concept of the Last Days. I can’t explain it any other way.”

The Last Days was Rosenberg’s second book, and he named his Joshua Fund after a fictional fund in the novel that invests in projects in the Middle East that bring Jews and Arabs together. The Joshua Fund is also an allusion to the biblical Joshua, whom God commanded to enter the Promised Land and to be strong and courageous.

He considers this trip a “pilot project” and will encourage more American churches to “tithe” a day or two of a Holy Land vacation for humanitarian-relief work.

“What Israelis are curious about is, do people who believe in Jesus love them?” Rosenberg said. “The Israeli people feel abandoned, threatened, undermined. They see a world that either wants to annihilate them or doesn’t care that other people want to annihilate them. And thus, Israelis are really asking themselves, ‘Is there anybody out there who is friendly?’”

Some of the beneficiaries of this trip in May were the 100-plus Lebanese families in Kiryat Shmona. Most of the men of the village are former high-ranking officers in the South Lebanon Army (SLA), Christians who in some cases have a price on their heads for having opposed Hezbollah, the terrorist militia that has become a major political force in Lebanon.

The Rio Rancho team assembled at a warehouse and formed an assembly line to fill 210 boxes full of food — flour, sugar, rice, pasta, tuna, pickles, hummus, cake mix, olive oil, crackers, red lentils, white beans and pineapple — which they handed out to the waiting families.

One of the people in line was Tereza Abu Morad, 17. Her father was a former battalion commander and SLA spokesman who would face the death penalty, she told Citizen, if he ever returns to Lebanon. Tereza, fluent in English, Arabic and Hebrew, said it has been a huge adjustment for her as a Christian Arab living among Israeli Jews, but explained that she has been accepted. In fact, after high school next year she plans to attend college on a scholarship in the name of a fallen Israeli soldier from the 34-day Second Lebanon War, Israel’s longest conflict.

Afterward, the Rio Rancho team moved on to another part of town and distributed boxes of food to about 100 Jewish families. Of the estimated 120 to 150 messianic congregations in Israel, about half reportedly are ethnic Russian. Today, there are about 15,000 Israeli followers of Jesus, up from a few dozen in 1967.

Rosenberg said last year’s Lebanon conflict gave the nation’s political leaders, as well as evangelical leaders worldwide, a “wake-up call.”

“It wasn’t the ultimate war, a prophetic war … but it was bad,” he said. “And it showed us a glimpse, a taste, of what could happen. Now The Joshua Fund is doing everything we can to pre-position relief supplies in Israel before the next war.”

Israelis are increasingly grateful for the love and support of evangelical Christians. The Knesset, Israel’s parliament, even formed an official outreach to evangelicals after a deadly Palestinian uprising in 2000.

“During the intifada, we saw the nations of the world one by one were being turned against us,” said Josh Reinstein, director of the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus. “Yet, Christians were standing next to us. People here started asking themselves why. And we realized that we really had no other choice but to start working together and seeing how we could cooperate.”

Chris Mitchell, Jerusalem bureau chief for CBN Christian cable news, heartily agreed with Reinstein’s assessment. He said American evangelicals are coming to a realization, too, through the war on terror: “The war that Israel is fighting is the same war that we’re fighting.”

Calev Myers, partner in a high-powered Jerusalem law firm and a messianic Jewish pastor, told Citizen that Americans should target their giving through the local messianic congregations.
He and Rosenberg have joined forces to push a bill through the Knesset to exempt the hundreds of millions of dollars in charitable and humanitarian giving to Israel from the country’s 15.5 percent value-added tax.

“I believe the enemy knows that if the church can really get connected with the local body in Israel,” he said, “much will be accomplished for His kingdom.”

In his book Epicenter, Rosenberg explains why the Middle East will affect your future. To order your copy, go to the center of the magazine or call 800-A-FAMILY.

There are plenty of ways to help Israel:

* Get your church involved with Rosenberg’s Joshua Fund. See or write to Edward Hunt, director of operations, at

* Visit the Holy Land as a tourist, buy Israeli products and elect Israel-friendly candidates for national office. Israel is a major producer of machinery and equipment, computer software, cut diamonds, agricultural products, chemicals and textiles and apparel. For more information, visit

* Support the important work of the Jerusalem Institute of Justice. Visit or write to: The Obed Project, c/o Jerusalem Institute of Justice, 1407 Airport Road, Monroe, NC 28110.

* Contribute to a project for the construction of bomb shelters in northern Israel. Visit

* Support other organizations mentioned in this article: Bridges for Peace: Christian Friends of Israel: International Christian Embassy Jerusalem:; Knesset Christian Allies Caucus: