Israel’s sixth Christian Media Summit was held in Jerusalem for the first time in person since COVID-19.
From December 11 to 14, the annual conference which was first conducted by the Israel Government Press Office (GPO) in 2017 attracted 120 media professionals from 28 countries for dialogue on key issues relevant to Israel and the Christian world.
The four-day summit was aimed to foster more cooperation with the Christian community and strengthen its alliance with Israel.
Nitzan Chen, GPO Director, gave an opening remark in the gala evening, acknowledging the importance of Christian media in public opinion, battling fake news, and fighting against antisemitism. “You are representatives and shepherds of public attitude and have the unique and critical position as a mediator in public opinion, providing reliable information beneficial to peoples and understanding of the real facts on the ground.”
Moshe Lion, Mayor of Jerusalem, greeted the participants, “Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and a place of co-existence. This is a city of peace. Friends, since I became a mayor, I work to help build these bridges between the different communities in Jerusalem. I know you stand up for Jerusalem and it’s my great pleasure to welcome you unto Jerusalem.”
Dr. Juergen Buehler, President of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, addressed the participants that Christians around the world that this year marks the 75th independence of the State of Israel. “I believe it is a significant year because Abraham was 75 years old when he entered the land of Israel, the promised land, for the first time. Since those 75 years and even before, Christians around the world will stand with great faithfulness and support with the Jewish people in the establishment of this great nation.”
Featuring Israel’s political, civic, cultural and religious leadership, the conference conducted panels, speeches, a tour to the Gaza border and an Israeli army base, a pilgrimage to the City of David, and a visit to the Israeli parliament.
On the second day, the popular Jewish TV drama “Shtisel” was introduced to the participants to get a glimpse of the mysterious daily life of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish “Haredi” family. Iran’s nuclear deals, Israel’s innovation landscape, and the country’s Jewish aid to Ukraine were covered. A special dialogue between a Christian bishop and a Jewish rabbi was also carried out to explore the two religions’ interfaith relationship. Four Christian leaders gave talks about Israel from humanitarian, Christian women, the media, and global perspectives, respectively.
On the third day, the participants traveled down south to the Nirim where the special group “kibbutz” (an intentional community in Israel that began as a utopian community and is traditionally based on agriculture) lives. Located only a few dozen meters from the Gaza perimeter, survivors who suffered from rocket attacks in the past years shared how they escaped to safety rooms within ten seconds after being alerted of the incoming bomb and expressed their wishes for peace.
The attendees visited the City of David on the fourth day where the probable large stone structure of King David’s Palace was discovered to prove the authenticity of the biblical history. They walked in the footsteps of pilgrims who would ascend from the Pool of Siloam upward to the Temple Mount to celebrate feasts three times a year. The journalists also heard speeches from the Knesset members to understand more deeply about Israel.