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Praying for the leader of Israel

Dr. Jim Denison is a cultural apologist who helps people respond biblically and redemptively to the vital issues of our day. He is also the co-founder and Chief Vision Officer of the Denison Forum, a Dallas-based nonprofit that comments on current issues through a biblical lens.

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Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a Likud party meeting at the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, in Jerusalem March 19, 2012 (Credit: Reuters / Baz Ratner)

Benjamin Netanyahu is the most powerful figure in Israel today and one of the most significant leaders on the world stage.  He was born in Tel Aviv in 1949 and grew up in Jerusalem before moving to the United States as a teenager.  He and his family lived in Philadelphia, where his father taught Jewish history.

In 1967, Netanyahu returned to Israel to fulfill the military obligation incumbent upon all Jewish youth.  He volunteered for an elite unit and was wounded in an operation to release hostages from a hijacked airliner.  During the 1973 Yom Kippur War, he led a commando team that made strikes deep into enemy territory.  After six years in the military he was discharged with the rank of captain.

Netanyahu returned to the States, where he received two degrees from MIT and studied political science at MIT and Harvard.  He became a business consultant before his eldest brother was killed in 1976 while rescuing hostages from a hijacked airliner in Uganda.  This tragedy was a key event in his life.  Netanyahu staged multinational forums on combating international terrorism, then became Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations.  He served as Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs before being elected Prime Minister in 1996.  After years as a global speaker and consultant, he was elected Prime Minister a second time in 2009.

He reads the Hebrew Bible each Sabbath after lunch; his son Avner won the prestigious National Bible Quiz for Youth two years ago, defeating 12,000 participants.  Netanyahu states that “the Bible is the very essence and foundation of the existence and spirit of the Jewish people.  It is also the single most important, remarkable and moving piece ever written.”

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{/source}While most Jews in Israel would likely agree, other religious commitments are less popular.  Only 63 percent of Israeli Jews are certain God exists; only 35 percent are sure there is a next world.  But there’s good news in the Holy Land.  According to my friend Tom Doyle, a missionary to the Middle East, more Jews have come to Christ in the last 20 years than in the last 2,000 years of Christianity.

What would happen if Benjamin Netanyahu were among them?  Imagine the impetus for evangelism in Israel and around the world his conversion would represent.  If the prime minister were to make Christ his Lord, the Holy Spirit could inspire and guide him in a transforming, empowering way.  And his leadership in these critical days could be used to advance the Kingdom in the Middle East and around the world.

As a frequent traveler to Israel, I am deeply grateful to God for the Jewish people and pray daily for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6).  Today I am praying as well for the salvation and blessing of God on their Prime Minister.  Would you join me?