Rosenberg emphasized the delegation was a personal initiative of all involved. There was no official link to Trump or the US government.
“Meeting with this delegation is not an endorsement of us or our views, but an opportunity for [Sisi] to advocate Egyptian interests to an important American constituency,” said Rosenberg. “To be effective in Washington, he needs buy-in and trust from pro-Israel people.”
But with the Americans the whole time was a somewhat nervous Egyptian.
“When I heard the key organizer lives in Israel,” Andrea Zaki, president of the Protestant Churches of Egypt, told a subsequent meeting of influential colleagues, “I was shaking a lot.”
But Zaki checked with friends, and queried Rosenberg’s dispensationalism and prophetic theology. Differences exist, but he was satisfied.
“I was blessed by these meetings,” said Zaki, “and I never saw the president so open and comfortable.” Scheduled for one hour, the conversation with Sisi stretched to nearly three.
Egypt has maintained a peace treaty with Israel since 1979, but there is much support for the Palestinian cause. The delegation also visited Jihan Sadat, the widow of President Anwar al-Sadat. He paid for the treaty with his life, assassinated six months later.
Putting Zaki at ease was Rosenberg’s somewhat unusual commitment.
“It bothers me that too many US evangelicals are either-or toward Israel and the Arab world,” Rosenberg told CT. “They are good people, but sometimes they don’t realize you can love both without violation of your core convictions.
“It hurts God’s heart if we show such disdain to one side or the other.”
It also assured Zaki that the delegation was coming to listen, and wanted to help Egypt.
“If I don’t help advance the interests of Egyptian evangelicals, I won’t consider the trip a success,” said Rosenberg. “We come and we go, but this is their country.”
The subsequent meeting with about 40 leading Protestant pastors, ministry leaders, and political figures was a highlight to many. Stuffed into a tight meeting room, they heard not only what God is doing in Egypt, but also their respect and appreciation for President Sisi.
“The feeling in Egypt is that we are not being listened to in the West,” Ramez Atallah, head of the Bible Society of Egypt, told CT. “Any sympathetic ear by a Western leader is gratifying.”.....