JERUSALEM – Today, we begin a brand new series on ALL ISRAEL NEWS: My conversations with prominent Christians and Jews about why they love Israel, and where that love comes from.
I have decided to begin the series by talking with Shannon Bream, Fox News anchor and Supreme Court correspondent.
Why? Because she is high-profile journalist, a devout Evangelical Christian, and now the author of a new book about Jewish and Arab women living in and around the land of Israel in biblical times – that has been #1 on The New York Times bestseller list for three weeks now.
Now, take it from me – hitting The New York Times list at all is one of the most difficult feats for any author.
Hitting #1 is all the more difficult – I’ve sold some 5 million books in my career, but I have hit the top of the Times list.
Imagine, then, hitting #1 when you’re writing about Bible stories that are 2,000, 3,000, and 4,000 years old – stories you might think that people already know and love, and that so many others despise and have no interest in at all.
What Shannon Bream has just accomplished, therefore, is important and newsworthy.
So, I was delighted that she agreed to a 20-minute interview with ALL ISRAEL NEWS.
In the first-half of our conversation, I asked her:
Why did you write this book?
Why do you think it is resonating with so many people from so many backgrounds?
And who are some of the women in the Bible whose stories most resonate with you, and why?
WHERE DOES YOUR LOVE FOR ISRAEL COME FROM?
In the second-half of our conversation, I asked Shannon about her first visit to Israel a few years ago, and where her love for Israel comes from.
Here is what she told me.
ROSENBERG: Israel's number one export in the world is the Bible. You have been here once. It was a short trip. But it was fairly high level. You got to meet with very high-level Israeli and Palestinian leaders. You interviewed the Vice President of the United States, Mike Pence, while you were here. What were some of your impressions of Israel and where does your love for Israel come from?
BREAM: Israel is such a beautiful, beautiful country – with beautiful, warm people, wonderful food, such glorious historic sites that I wish I had more time. And we're going to do it. We're going to come back.
ROSENBERG: And we're opening up – we're reopening on May 23.
It really did feel like being on hallowed ground there. It was just all the stories that I heard through my faith over the years – to be able to see places and click true actual earth under my feet, those stories. And it was just such a surface-level visit because we were there so quickly. [But] it was one of the biggest blessings of my life to be there, even for that short time. And we will get back.
But you know what? I grew up in a home where we very much were about the Old Testament and the Jewish portion of our faith, and the fact that we are grafted in as Gentiles who were saved by sacrifice. I was in one of those homes where the Old Testament and the Jewish tradition was very, very well respected. I have a step-father who is very much into prophecy and has always taught me from a very young age that Israel is God’s chosen people, He is their protector, and they are the apple of his eye, essentially, and that we should always be supportive of the people of Israel through any struggle or threat that they face. So all of that was taught to me all throughout my childhood, at a very young age. It was so interesting to be there – even if was just briefly – and I look forward to the day I'll be back.
I also asked her why she wrote this book, and what biblical women she focused on.
“You know, Fox actually came to me because they were starting their book label last year, and they said, 'We want our second book to be something in this space for women and for religion, and would you want to take this on immediately?'” Shannon told me.
“And I was immediately so excited by the prospect of getting to do this because, of course, these are stories I've read and studied my whole life.”
“I learned so much in writing this book and going back and digging deeper into each of these stories. But we decided to pull out several women –and there's so many great ones; you can include them all – but these are some of the more prominent stories. And we actually we have a mix. I sort of joke, but it's true, we've got a prostitute. We've got a murderer. We've got a queen. We got Mary, the mother of Jesus. I mean, there is a variety in here for you to choose from….But then in the end, there were so many other women and their interaction with Jesus that I wanted to include that we did sort of a catch-all chapter to show the relationship that Jesus had with women in his time as well.”
The rest of her answers, like the book itself, are fascinating.
I encourage you to watch the whole interview, and share it with others.
I also hope you will purchase a copy of Shannon’s book not just for yourself, but for friends and family.
I bought one for my wife, Lynn, my mom, my mother-in-law, as well as for myself – and I cannot recommend it highly enough. It is so encouraging and full of hope – something we all desperately need after such a painful year.
Joel C. Rosenberg is the editor-in-chief of ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS and the President and CEO of Near East Media. A New York Times best-selling author, Middle East analyst, and Evangelical leader, he lives in Jerusalem with his wife and sons.