Who’s afraid of reporting the news from a biblical perspective?

Great events are unfolding on the streets of Jerusalem and in the headlines of our newspapers every day.

Visitors enter an exhibit room during a preview at the Museum of the Bible in Washington. (photo credit: REUTERS)
Visitors enter an exhibit room during a preview at the Museum of the Bible in Washington.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Steven Spielberg’s new film The Post portrays the story behind the publication of the Pentagon Papers in the 1970s and explores the tension between journalism and government. In a poignant scene at the end of the movie, the Post’s first female publisher, Katharine Graham, delivers a memorable line, calling newspapers the “first rough draft of history.”
To the media elite this assertion rings true. Yet I believe it harmfully overstates the role of journalism.
As the publisher of Breaking Israel News, which presents news from a biblical perspective, I’d like to suggest that a more illustrious literary source plays an even greater role in the development of history: the Bible.
The Bible, however, is not the first rough draft of history, it created history.
In his 1998 book The Gift of the Jews, Thomas Cahill explained that other ancient societies saw the world in cyclical terms, with seasons repeating over and over again. As such, everything that appears had appeared before and would appear again. Nothing really mattered, nothing had significance. Cahill writes that the Bible, the gift of the Jews, changed that mindset for subsequent history.
Abraham, Moses and King David introduced to the world the utterly transformative idea that events do not repeat, they move forward.
“Most of our best words, in fact ‘new, adventure, surprise; unique individual, person, vocation; time, history, future; freedom, progress, spirit; faith, hope, justice’ are the gifts of the Jews,” writes Cahill. Every individual matters and everything we do has great consequences.
The Post movie drives home this central idea in the dramatic portrayal of Graham’s decision to publish the Pentagon Papers at great personal and professional risk. In their roles, Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep show how a few individuals working at a relatively small local newspaper could have a major impact on the arc of history.
Yet, for millions of Bible believers, it is the Israel- based news outlets that truly provide an even more important local and eyewitness account of the events shaping our world.
When the US recognizes Jerusalem as the eternal capital of the Jewish people, or when the UN rejects the Jewish connection to our holy sites, the mainstream media looks back 50 years to the Six Day War, or 70 years back to the establishment of the State of Israel for context. Breaking Israel News looks back 3,000 years and explains these current events from a biblical perspective, not just a political one.
Christian media regularly interprets events based on their understanding of religion and spirituality, without shame, without apologetics.
Next month, thousands of Christian journalists and media leaders will gather in Nashville, Tennessee, for the annual conference of the National Religious Broadcasters, whose mission is to “advance biblical truth.”
Jews, on the other hand, prefer a wall between the press and the pews.
Famous secular Jews have long made an outsized contribution to quality journalism, with prominent names such as Joseph Pulitzer, Arthur Ochs, Carl Bernstein and even Katherine Graham. Some Jewish journalists might even occasionally point to Jewish values of truth and justice in guiding their work.
With so much of the world’s attention focusing on Israel as never before, Jewish media should go beyond embracing universal Judaic values. We must reclaim our heritage to provide an authentic Jewish voice and biblical context to a struggling media landscape in a fast-paced world struggling to make sense of it all.
In the age of superficial social media and “fake news,” we need eternal truth more than ever and should take down the wall we have built between news coverage and spirituality.
For 85 years the printing presses ran at The Jerusalem Post, providing an eyewitness account of the miracles unfolding in Israel. The Post should be commended for recognizing the Christian interest in the Jewish state back in 2005 when it established a Christian Edition magazine that goes out to 40,000 print subscribers around the world today.
Breaking Israel News, which started five years ago, takes this approach a step further. Our Jewish journalists point out God’s hand throughout the news cycle and, thanks to our largely Christian audience, we now have more than two million page views per month and have quickly become one of the largest English news sites in Israel.
Nevertheless, rather than receiving a warm welcome from the Jewish media establishment for our fresh perspective, Breaking Israel News has been rejected.
Just recently, our membership application to the American Jewish Press Association (AJPA) was denied.
The AJPA was established in 1944 and represents Jewish media organizations. Their membership committee chair told Breaking Israel News that our focus on “stories about Bible prophecy, redemption and the end of days” were too Christian for their association. It is sadly ironic that the Jewish media gatekeepers refer to basic Jewish ideas such as “nevuah,” “geulah” and “acharit hayamim” as Christian ideology.
What it comes down to is that the Jewish media establishment is frightened about the great interest that Christian Zionists have in the Jewish state. The editor-in-chief of The Forward wrote a recent column titled, “Trump Has Handed the Israel Lobby to Evangelicals. That’s Terrifying.” With all due respect to America’s oldest Jewish newspaper, that began publishing in Yiddish in 1897, Christian support for the Jewish people is neither frightening or dangerous. It is one of the greatest developments in modern Jewish history.
Great events are unfolding on the streets of Jerusalem and in the headlines of our newspapers every day. As the ones with front row seats to the fulfillment of biblical promise after promise, millions around the world are eager for our religious perspective. It’s time for Jewish media to take a new approach from our ancient pages.
The author, a rabbi, is the director of Israel365, which connects Christian Zionists with Israel and strives to be a light unto the nations. He also serves as publisher of Breaking Israel News which presents the latest news from a biblical perspective.