The fifth Christian Media Summit was held virtually by the Israeli government on Thursday, with the theme of “Abraham Accords and Abrahamic Religions: Partners in Peace”.
Conducted virtually again due to COVID-19, the summit, which normally lasts four days in-person in Jerusalem, was shortened into a single gala evening, attended by more than 110 media professionals on Zoom.
Featuring Israel’s friendships with Christians and remembering the signing of its peace deals with Arabic countries, the event invited journalists, Israeli top officials, and world figures to be the speakers.
The current President of Israel, Isaac Herzog, addressed the participants for the first time since the start of his presidency last July. “Dear friends, it is a pleasure to welcome you in this year’s Christian Media Summit under the heading and title ‘Abraham Accords and Abrahamic Religions: Partners in Peace’. What a beautiful title!”
He recalled that the Abraham Accords was led by former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, leaders of the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain, and how it was later supported by the previous Trump administration which became a common knowledge of and a fact supported by the current government. “This agreement became possible due to the culture of tolerance and respect for different religions shared by all partners concerned.”
President Herzog stated that just over one year, the co-operation between Israel and the Abraham Accords’ countries covered various fields, which reminded him of the covenant God made with Abraham in Genesis: “I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse, and all the families of the Earth shall be blessed in you.” (Genesis 12:3)
Thousands of years after the covenant, the Abraham Accords was named after the common father – Abraham. Facing extreme terror and threats from radical antisemitism, Israel would continue to protect its citizens and share the truth about the country and Jewish people.
“We know we can count on you, dear friends and allies in the Christian world, to stand with us in the fight against terror and to be our partners in the efforts to counter the lies and spread the truth of Israel,” the president said.
Prime Minister of Israel Naftali Bennet said that Israel was facing an invisible enemy – “radical militant Islam that is sweeping across the Middle East”. The terror that began in Tehran “seeks to destroy Israel, dominate the world and drive it into a dark abyss”. Bennet stressed that no faith should lead people to wage a war, spread hate, practice cruelty, or kill in the name of the God of peace, love, compassion, and life. “In the Middle East, there’s only one place that fully protects Christian life, where the Christian community is growing, thriving and prospering – that’s in the State of Israel. Israel protects the right of Christians as we protect all religions. Today, more than ever, Christians stand united with Israel. And today, more than ever, Israel stands united with Christians. We are brothers and sisters.”
Yair Lapid, Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs and Alternate Primer Minister, in his address to the summit, first thanked Christian journalists’ commitment and dedication to sharing the story of Israel with the world and their friendships to fight with Israel. “We’re proud to call you colleagues more than friends.”
The former prime minister and opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu praised the Abraham Accords as the deal of peace for peace and sparked enormous change. The “sons of Abraham” – Jews and Arabs came directly together to benefit the common future.
It was notable in a panel featuring the Abraham Religions, a Muslim leader, a Jewish community representative, and a Christian pastor shared their own sights.
The speakers also included Ayelet Shaked, Israeli Minister of Tourism, Maayan Hoffman, editor of The Jerusalem Post, Michele Bachmann, former US congresswoman, Bishop Glenn Plummer of Israel of the Church of God in Christ, Ward Simpson, founder of God TV, and Mike Evans, founder and chairman of the FOZ Heritage Center.
There were two other panels titled “Abraham Accords One Year Later: Journalists Writing History” and “In a Post-Abraham Accords Region: Is the Israeli Palestinian Conflict Ethnic or Religious?”.
The host Government Press Office of Israel said the next year’s summit would be possible in person in June if conditions permit.