Following a brutal 11-day conflict between Israeli forces and Hamas, a tenuous peace holds after both sides agreed to a ceasefire on May 20.
While both Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip have long been centers of conflict in the region, this most recent wave of violence should serve as a warning to the United States. As Joel Rosenberg, a New York Times best-selling author and a dual citizen of the United States and Israel, recently explained to me:
“The threats that we face in Israel are very serious. But we’re just the little guy, and we’re a little target. You in the United States — you’re the big target. And these radicals are coming after you at some point if you don’t take them seriously.”
In our conversation, Rosenberg and I briefly discussed his newest book, “The Beirut Protocol,” the fourth installment of the Marcus Ryker series, which was released in March. Its plot, though fictional, details events that are strikingly similar to what has recently transpired in the Holy Land.
The close relationship between the United States and Israel has been one of the most salient features of U.S. foreign policy.
For decades, our nation and its elected officials have been Israel’s allies and its leading security collaborators because we recognize and support the existence of a Jewish state.
Evangelicals largely share this commitment. According to Gallup, 87 percent of this group are sympathetic to Israel. Our support is grounded in our shared concern regarding the threats to Israel and the United States from within the Middle East.
Rosenberg was admittedly a “NeverTrumper” before the 2016 election. Yet he grew to be impressed by Trump’s actions in the Middle East.
Former President Donald Trump took the threats in the Middle East seriously, something that Rosenberg needed as an evangelical Israeli-American.
Rosenberg shared that President Trump made unprecedented strides in regard to the Middle East, calling him “one of the most effective American presidents in modern times.”
He applauds Trump for declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel, moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, recognizing the sovereignty that Israel has over the Golan Heights and brokering four historic Arab-Israeli peace deals in the Abraham Accords between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco.
Rosenberg was also thankful to see Trump remove the U.S. from the Iran nuclear deal and apply maximum pressure on the “terror masters in Tehran to try to bring them to their knees, to give up their nuclear terror ambitions.”
In stark contrast, it’s not yet clear how this new administration will navigate relations with Iran and Israel.
According to U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, there is an “enduring and ironclad” American commitment to Israel. The Defense secretary reinforced U.S. support at a tense time when the Biden administration is reviving the nuclear negotiations with Israel’s archenemy, Iran.
When I asked Rosenberg about his thoughts on the Biden administration’s policy toward Iran, he said, “I’d like to see that he has learned from the mistakes of the [Obama] administration and plans to course correct and build on the really positive things that President Trump did.”
His advice to Biden?
“Mr. President,” he would say, “While I wasn’t an active supporter of you from the moment you were inaugurated, I’ve been praying for you and your family and your team every single day. Be very careful not to be so desperate to get into a new nuclear deal with Iran’s terror masters that you ignore the type of terrorism, subversion, the very, very dangerous behavior of the Iranian regime.”
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