(Jerusalem, Israel) — Last week, I had the wonderful opportunity to join some 180 Evangelical journalists, broadcasters and authors from more than 30 countries participating in the 2018 Christian Media Summit held here in the Israeli capital.
Over the course of four days, we met with and were able to ask questions of:
- Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (see his remarks on video here / read the text of his remarks here)
- President Reuven Rivlin (see his remarks, watch videos of other speakers here)
- Speaker of the Knesset Yuli Edelstein
- Mayor of Jerusalem Nir Barkat
- U.S. Ambassador David Friedman (see his remarks here)
- and numerous Israeli Jewish, Muslim and Christian officials, military officers, scholars, experts, business executives and faith leaders.
“We have no better friends in the world than our Christian friends and I take this opportunity to thank you for your steadfast support,” the Prime Minister told us. “You are standing up for Israel and you are standing up for the truth and we stand up for you.”
“You are ambassadors of truth,” Netanyahu added. “You’re not merely the greatest ambassadors that Israel has around the world – you’re champions of truth. And if there’s one thing that I can ask you to do is to tell the truth.”
Hosted and organized by Mr. Nitzan Chen, director of Israel’s Government Press Office, this was the second such Summit for Christians in the international media. I found it quite helpful in gaining deeper understanding into the thinking of Israel’s top leaders on a range of matters.
What I had not expected was the opportunity to speak to the Summit’s participants. And yet, shortly after President Rivlin addressed us in his official residence — after a lovely luncheon and towards the end of the program — I was asked to come to the podium to share some observations both as a dual U.S.-Israeli citizen and as an Evangelical involved in the media.
It was an honor — indeed, humbling — and I focused my remarks on the importance of learning how to obey the command spoken both by Moses and by Jesus to “love your neighbor as yourself.” This, of course, is not always easy to do, and certainly not here in Israel with so many internal and external challenges — geopolitical, spiritual, economic, and other. Yet this is a command, not a suggestion. I certainly have much to learn and much progress to make, but I shared some thoughts on my journey so far.
Some of the media coverage of the Summit:
- Netanyahu encourages Christian journalists to ‘tell the truth’ in Middle East coverage (CBN News coverage)
- Netanyahu: We want ‘excellent relations’ with Indonesia (Times of Israel)
- Amazing Grace at President’s Residence — Christian Media Summit leaders meet with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin (Jerusalem Post)
- Hallelujah: President Rivlin meets with Christian media (Jerusalem Post)
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