International journalists gather in Jerusalem for Jewish Media Summit

“Israel, in general, and Jerusalem, in particular, have always symbolized the spiritual, national and cultural center of Jewish life."

December 4, 2016 20:04
2 minute read.
30,000 flock to Old City for Jerusalem Day

30,000 flock to Old City for Jerusalem Day. (photo credit: SETH J. FRANTZMAN)

Dozens of Jewish journalists from around the world gathered in Jerusalem Sunday for the start of the four-day Jewish Media Summit (JMS).

Some 50 editors, correspondents, bureau chiefs, publishers and keys opinion leaders from many of the world’s top Jewish media outlets, including from the US, Europe, South America and Turkey, are participating in the conference where they will discuss some of the major topics facing Israel and the Diaspora.

The conference, which was held for the first time in 2014, was organized by the Government Press Office, the Diaspora Affairs Ministry and the Foreign Ministry.

Participants include Jane Eisner, editor of the Jewish Daily Forward; Gary Rosenblatt, editor and publisher of The Jewish Week; and Jewish Journal reporter Danielle Berrin.

The Jerusalem Post’s diplomatic correspondent Herb Keinon is set to moderate a panel on Monday titled, “The Great Debate: Israel and the Shape of Things to Come,” which will cover topics including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Israel’s position in the region and the future of the Jewish people.

Panelists include Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Bayit Yehudi), opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Zionist Union), Public Security and Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) and Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid.

Other topics to be discussed over the course of the summit include pluralism, the Western Wall, and the deepening clash between religion and state; perspectives of the Palestinian and Arab press; implications of the US presidential elections for Israel and world Jewry; and antisemitism and the Jews of Europe.

A growing disconnect between Diaspora Jewry, their Jewish identity and the State of Israel was one of the main reasons behind the idea to convene leaders of the Jewish press to talk openly about the challenges and issues behind said detachment.

“Israel, in general, and Jerusalem, in particular, have always symbolized the spiritual, national and cultural center of Jewish life,” a JMS press release stated. “Israel’s capital is the right place to discuss the problems and difficulties that characterize the lives of Jewish communities around the world.”

Government Press Office director Nitzan Chensaid the event is the fruit of a decision by the government “to leverage its relationship with the Jewish press abroad and to tell it: ‘Partnership with you is strategic for the State of Israel,’ and it’s necessary to create an ongoing professional dialogue on topics that interest the press community in Israel and the world.”

Diaspora Affairs Ministry director-general Dvir Kahana hailed the conference as “an excellent opportunity to strengthen the ties between the Jewish world and Israel.”

“Journalists and media professions are important and significant actors in mediating, formulating and making accessible to the public information about important topical issues, and, therefore, this conference carries great importance,” he said.

The conference will help achieve the ministry’s goal of strengthening the relationship between Diaspora Jewry and the State of Israel, Kahana said.

Akiva Tor, head of the Foreign Ministry’s bureau for World Jewish Affairs and World Religions, said a strong prosperous media that is connected to events in Israel is a “vital tool in the relationship between Israel and the Diaspora and the success of Jewish communities everywhere.”

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