By writing thrillers, the author has become an expert on the Middle East


“Enemies and Allies: An Unforgettable Journey Into the Fast-moving and Immensely Turbulent Modern Middle East” by Joel Rosenberg

Joel C. Rosenberg described himself as “a failed political consultant.” At first, he spent 10 years in Washington, DC, working for various American and Israeli leaders.

In the end, this career did not take off as he had hoped, but it proved to be a perfect backdrop for his next endeavor: writing international detective novels primarily focused on the Middle East and often involving Bible prophecy.

Born near Rochester, NY, to a Jewish father and a non-Jewish mother, both who became Christians, Rosenberg now holds dual American and Israeli citizenship and lives in Jerusalem with his wife and sons. He’s a practicing Christian.

In total, his 16 novels and several non-fiction books have sold nearly 5 million copies. Several of his books have spent weeks on major bestseller lists.

He told a British Christian podcast he has nine months to write his first novel, “The Last Jihad” – in which Islamist terrorists hijack a plane to crash into it on a suicide mission and Iraq is finally invaded – when planes struck the Twin Towers on 9/11.

The popularity and credibility of his books, along with many bold prayers, he insists, have opened doors for him to heavyweights ranging from former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to King of Jordan Abdullah II to Egyptian President. Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Rosenberg, 54, has compiled information from his visits with these players and others in a new non-fiction book, “Enemies and Allies: An Unforgettable Journey Inside the Fast and Immensely Moving Modern Middle East. turbulent”.

He’s in Kentucky this weekend promoting it. He will speak three times on Sunday, September 19 at the Savior’s Church, 1301 Brannon Rd., Nicholasville – in the regular services at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m., and in a special service at 6:30 p.m. Free entry. The 11am service will be streamed online at

In a phone interview from Washington, DC, Rosenberg said important developments in the Middle East have happened almost unnoticed here, given our country’s concern for the pandemic, partisan politics and other burning issues.

“The past 20 years have been a horror show for Muslims, Christians and Jews in the Middle East,” he said. “But there are some very encouraging signs of hope.”

Militant Islamist groups such as ISIS have killed huge numbers of their fellow Muslims, he said, and created untold suffering throughout the region.

Ironically, this upheaval contributed to unprecedented cooperation between more moderate Muslims and members of the other two faiths.

For example, President Sisi of Egypt recently built the largest church in the Middle East and presented it to Christians on Christmas Eve. (Seventeen million Christians live in Egypt, Rosenberg said.)

And in 2020, four Arab countries – the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco – signed peace treaties with Israel.

The devastation wreaked by groups such as IS, Al-Qaeda and the Taliban is not the only reason for the remarkable interfaith cooperation in the Middle East. Those who live in the area fear something even more dangerous.

“The Iranian threat is the main reason why attitudes are changing,” Rosenberg said.

In his explanation, Iran is led by radical mullahs who advocate an extremist theology that he calls “apocalyptic Islamism”. They are not only proposing violence against their enemies, he said, but are hoping to bring about the end of time, a total apocalypse.

He thinks that’s why Iran wants nuclear weapons: to start a cataclysmic war ending history.

“It’s not normal,” Rosenberg said.

Iran’s neighbors know the threat is real, he said. The current US government apparently does not.

“President Biden just doesn’t see it,” Rosenberg said. “To ignore the motive and threat of evil is to risk being blinded by it. “

It must be said that Rosenberg has a politically conservative view of the world. Much more conservative than mine, at least.

At first he worked as a research assistant for the late Rush Limbaugh and was an advisor to Republican political candidate Steve Forbes. He was backed by former US Vice President Mike Pence.

I asked him about it, and he said he didn’t consider himself a one-sided man:

“I don’t really care about the label.”

He said he is more interested in the leadership’s position on issues related to Israel and militant Islamism than in their affiliation.

“I don’t hate President Biden,” he said. “On Israel, he’s pretty good. But he is simply wrong, and dangerously wrong “on Iran.

So take it all as you want. I am not in the least an expert on the Middle East, and I am not in a position to endorse or dispute Rosenberg’s views on Iran, Israel or the Arab rulers.

There you go, I can say it: he’s an interesting guy, and you could do worse than go hear him talk. It will make you think, and that’s already good.

Paul Prather is the pastor of Bethesda Church near Mount Sterling. You can email him at

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