NRB Awards CBN's Chris Mitchell 'Tree of Life'

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CBN News Middle East Bureau Chief Chris Mitchell received the Ed McAteer "Tree of Life" award Sunday at the annual National Religious Broadcasters convention in Nashville, Tenn.

Proclaiming Justice to the Nations President Laurie Cardoza Moore presented the award to Mitchell Sunday evening in recognition of more than a decade reporting from Israel.

"The 2013 Ed McAteer Tree of Life award presented to Chris Mitchell, Middle East bureau chief for CBN, for his commitment to the State of Israel and the Jewish community in [the] Diaspora this March 2013," she read from the plaque. "Chris, thank you so much for your example to so many other media here. Keep up the good work. God bless you!"

Mitchell also hosts Jerusalem Dateline, the CBN News Internet TV program broadcast biweekly, and soon to be weekly, from Jerusalem.

Below is the text of his speech at the NRB.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We live in challenging times when the darkness is getting darker and the light is getting lighter.

Dickens described a similar age when he wrote, "It was the best of times; it was the worst of times."

Isaiah put it this way: "Arise, shine for your light has come and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples."

In this age, one of the great plumb lines of our times is Israel.

The battle over Israel is not just a physical threat. It's not just fought by Hamas rockets fired out of Gaza into Israeli cities and towns, nor in the bowels of Iran's nuclear facilities where thousands of centrifuges spin Tehran's regime ever closer to a nuclear bomb.

It's also a battle of truth.

Today, the theat to Israel is not just an Iranian nuclear bomb, but a concerted and often coordinated campaign to delegitimize the Jewish state.

Misinformation, disinformation, propaganda, libels and lies mar and obscure the truth about Israel. It's the claim that Israel is an apartheid state, a pariah among the nations, when it's very right to exists is questioned, where libelous statements are presented as fact and the truth about Israel is lost.

But the image portrayed by some and the reality on the ground is different. It's often an Israel many never know about, an Israel many never hear about.

Yes, Israel is flawed, imperfect. Like any other nation on earth, it makes mistakes. Israelis can be brash and abrasive. I know, I've on their streets for more than a decade -- and survived.

But Israel and Israelis are also moral, decent and good. They send medical teams to help out -- like to the Haitians after their earthquake, the Japanese after their tsunami and the Filipinos after their floods.

Israel's military takes unprecedented measures to protect civilian lives in wartime.

Magen David Adom (Israel's national emergency rescue service) ambulances transport critically ill Palestinians to Israeli hospitals where they're treated by Israeli doctors, many of them Arab doctors.

Nearly 1.6 million Arabs live as Israeli citizens and share the same benefits as Jewish citizens.

Israeli agricultural breakthroughs have made the desert bloom and help feed the world.

Its medical breakthroughs help advance the world -- a small nation that makes a big difference.

It does this despite being surrounded by its enemies, whether Iran's mullahs hundreds of miles away or Hamas, sitting on its southern border, or a terrorist plotting his next terror attack somewhere in the West Bank (biblical Judea and Samaria).

And it has managed to survive and even thrive with one of the strongest economies in the Middle East.

Today the great need is for accurate information, sound analysis and honest reporting. We need watchmen and women on the walls in this battle of truth, men and women like those sons and daughters of Issachar who understood the times and knew what Israel should do.

It's why proclaiming justice to the nations exists. It's why CBN invests in a news bureau in Jerusalem. It's why that news bureau now produces a bi-weekly -- and soon to be weekly -- Internet television news program called Jerusalem Dateline, with the purpose to inform, educate and report from the front lines of Israel, the fault line in today's battle of civilizations.

It's why Thomas Nelson will be publishing Jerusalem Dateline in September, a book by this reporter -- about the you never knew and the prophetic trends converging on the city of Jerusalem.

It's why millions of Christians around the world are praying like never before for Israel and the peace of Jerusalem.

It's why Christians are finding common cause with Jews worldwide in this battle for survival, freedom and truth.

We support Israel not because we are anti-Arab or anti-Palestinian but because we support freedom over tyranny. We support the right of the Jewish people to a homeland because we see in the State of Israel the modern-day fulfillment of what the prophets saw thousands of years ago -- because we know it's a nation conceived with the stamp of approval of the great powers after World War 1, born in the middle of the last century out of the ashes of the Holocaust and yet promised 4,000 years ago by the God of Israel to the father of our faith, Abraham.

The prophets, the League of Nations and history bear witness to the modern day miracle called Israel.

It's a story of the Bible coming to life.

We read in Isaiah that one day his people would return home and 2,000 years after the Diaspora, they are coming and fulfilling the cry of Jews for centuries when they whispered, wept and prayed, "next year in Jerusalem."

We turn to Jeremiah who said one day these Jews would resettle the hills of Judea and Samaria and see Jewish communities on those same hills today.

We look to Zechariah who declared that one day the nations would gather to battle against Jerusalem and now we hear a growing chorus of nations who demand Jerusalem must either be divided or claim that one day it will be conquered.

We hear the words of Jesus who said on the Mount of Olives 2,000 years ago that nation would rise up against nation and kingdom against kingdom, and we see those words ring true today.

Israel is on the front lines of a battle of civilizations. It's the canary in the mine of Judeo-Christian civilization against radical Islam.

The stakes are high. We interviewed Bernard Lewis, the premier Islamic scholar in the world today, and asked him what area the stakes in this battle.

He answered soberly, "the future of our civilization."

Jerusalem -- the city with eternity in its fiber -- will be the epicenter of this conflict, this clash of civilizations. 

In the midst of this clash, nations will discover or rediscover that biblical correctness trumps political correctness…and understand the timeless biblical principle that whosoever blesses Israel will also be blessed and who curses Israel will also be cursed.

With threats surrounding Israel increasing exponentially, it's critical for organizations like the NRB proclaiming justice to the nations to stand with Israel -- for CBN News and others to report accurately and truthfully what' happening to the apple of God's eye in the naval of the earth.

Today is that time of common cause with his chosen people and those grated into the olive tree of Israel.

It's a story whose ending has yet to be told and it's a story we all play a part in.

It may be like Dickens said, the best of times and the worst of times, but it's also a time to rise up in the strength of the God of Israel who said I will never leave you nor forsake you.

A time, as Daniel said, to do exploits for God. This award is an honor but a call for all us to answer this call of history. With His help, we will be ready, prepared to fulfill our duty and destiny for such a time as this.

Thank you.

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