Magazine article Editor & Publisher

'Jerusalem Post' Launches Christian Edition

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

'Jerusalem Post' Launches Christian Edition

Article excerpt

Israel's oldest English language daily, The Jerusalem Post, has a new product. While across the world printed newspapers are declining in pages, consolidating or going out of business altogether, The Jerusalem Post came out earlier this past year with the Jerusalem Post Christian edition.

The Jerusalem Post introduces itself as a widely recognized and trusted source for news on Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world," and suggests that now, it is "offering Israel's Christian friends a special edition published monthly dedicated to their unique interests."

Evangelical Christianity is continuing to grow globally even as its political influence appears to be waning in the United States. Israel and the Jerusalem Post are betting that global evangelicalism and its adherents are a steady market for tourism and readership, at least in so far as their relationship with the "the holy land" is concerned.

The Christian edition is an attractive, multicolored, many-paged monthly, with numerous articles of particular interest to the international Christian community. Articles such as, "Israel allies caucus formed in US Congress," "Taking the Bible on Tour: Christians bring 4000 years of Jewish history to audiences across Europe," and "Healing the Wounds, German Christians serve Holocaust survivors in Northern Israel."

This is the latest move by the Post in its long political and publishing shift further to "the right of the political center" (as described by the Post itself). The Jerusalem Post began publication as the Palestine Post in 1932, and became the Jerusalem Post after the state of Israel was declared and the British Mandate period of Palestine formally ended. The paper evolved in order to serve the multi-lingual Jewish Palestine community of immigrants and served as a recruiting and communication tool for the Mapai movement -- which later became the Israeli Labor Party, and had a clear left liberal and even socialist leanings reflecting the largely secular and East European origins of the country's founding generation and first immigrants.

It might appear to some that the Jerusalem Post's creation of a Christian edition is unusual or far-fetched, and the relationship and timing of such Israeli-Christian endeavors may make for strange bedfellows. At least two books have come out recently however, which are devoted exclusively to the relationship of Christians to Israel, historically and in the present.

"Power, Faith and Fantasy," a book published only this January, explores the depths and history of the often-romantic relationship between American Christianity and their support of the Jews in Israel. Michael Oren, the author, is a well-regarded historian from the Shalem Center in Tel Aviv, and suggests that the links between American Christianity, "the holy land," and the Hebrews began with American Puritanism and even has been partly responsible for the effort to bring "civic values, patriotism and nationalism " to the Middle East, first through Christian missionary work and eventually through education with the establishment of the American universities of Beirut and Cairo.

This is especially interesting and even revealing when looking at the policies, often mystifying, of President George Bush in the region in general -- and the support of his political base for Israel in particular. Even more fascinating is Oren's observation that many of these ideas were popularized by a man named George Bush who taught at New York University in the 1900's. …

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