Israel Cultivates Closer Ties with Global Christian Media
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu greeted by the Jerusalem Channel’s Christine Darg at Israel’s first Christian Media Summit in Jerusalem
By Christine Darg, Jerusalem Channel
What other nation besides Israel has sponsored a global media summit for Christian broadcasters, bloggers and journalists?
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed Israel’s first Christian Media Summit at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, lauding the close ties between Israel and Christians around the world. He declared that “Israel has no better friends – I mean that – no better friends in the world than the Christian communities around the world.”
While welcoming the attendees to “Jerusalem, the eternal united capital of the Jewish people,” Netanyahu underscored the city’s accessibility to all faiths, saying that “you are joining us as we celebrate 50 years since the Holy City was liberated and united; 50 years of religious freedom for all. You know that because you walk around, you go to the holy sites, you go to the churches, others go to the mosques, and you know this is a free city.”
Netanyahu also invited the media executives and reporters to look forward “to the day when the embassies of all your countries move to Jerusalem.”
Approximately 130 influential media representatives from five continents and 30 nations attended the event, including representatives from CBN, the National Religious Broadcasters, ICEJ news, Revelation TV, the Jerusalem Channel, Daystar TV, TBN, Alfa Omega TV and God TV.
This past Shabbat, all across the Jewish world, the yearly Sabbath Torah reading was begun anew with the Torah portion Bereshit, “in the beginning,” staring over with the Book of Genesis. How fitting it was that the new cycle of Torah readings coincided with this media summit. It is a new beginning for Jewish and Christian broadcasters and journalists! Various members of Knesset and Cabinet members made themselves available to us for questions and we gained a much better understanding of why some stories are distorted by “group think,” why many Israelis are becoming more religious and why some politicians advocate a two-state solution.
Following are Israeli Prime Minister’s opening remarks at the premier media summit, attended by approximately 200 Christian media representatives from at least 45 nations:
I want to welcome you all to Jerusalem, the eternal united capital of the Jewish people.
You are joining us as we celebrate 50 years since the Holy City was liberated and united; 50 years of religious freedom for all. You know that because you walk around, you go to the holy sites, you go to the churches, others go to the mosques, and you know this is a free city.
I want you also to join us in looking forward to the day when the embassies of all your countries move to Jerusalem.
Israel has no better friends – I mean that – no better friends in the world than the Christian communities around the world. And Israel is the one country in a vast region where Christians not only survive, they thrive.
You know the truth about Israel’s history and the truth about our commitment to freedom. Freedom is under a challenge all the time, and I think it scored a big victory the other day. I want to thank President Trump for his courageous speech outlining a new course against Iran, the enemy of our free civilization.
Iran is a threat to the entire world, but today I want to focus on Iran’s war against Christians. As you all know, Christians are brutally persecuted in the Islamic Republic. Pastors are jailed for no reason, no reason other than for being Christian leaders. Christians have been lashed. You hear this? Christians have been lashed for sipping wine during prayer services; Christians have been brutally tortured for doing nothing more than practicing their faith.
Now, some world leaders are willing to ignore this repression and seek to appease Iran, but I am not one of them.
I think that how a country treats religious minorities is a very good indicator of how it will treat its other citizens and its neighbors. So today I have a simple request for the media outlets in this room: Dedicate this week to highlighting the plight of the countless Christians suffering under Iran; Profile the brave Christian leaders jailed for practicing their faith; Sit with the families of the school teachers jailed for years merely for converting to Christianity; Call out the lie and the lies of President Rouhani, who promised in 2013 that all religions would, quote, feel justice in Iran, while so many Christians live there in constant terror.
And I want to thank you for what you’re doing, taking your part and doing your part to stand up for religious freedom. Thank you for highlighting the danger of the terrorist regime in Iran. Thank you for telling the truth about Israel’s pluralistic democracy. Thank you for standing with Israel. We all are deeply grateful. Thank you.
The consensus of the participants was that the influence of this Christian media group is much greater than ABC, NBC and CBS combined. The delegates and the organisers felt the event was so successful in networking and information that it must be repeated again perhaps next year during Israel’s 70th anniversary of independence.