Matthew Bell


Matthew Bell is an editor at The World.

I’m an editor based in the Boston newsroom — working from home a lot lately, of course. I work closely with our correspondents who cover the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Africa and Latin America.By way of background, I studied comparative religion and Chinese history at the University of Vermont. That led me to Mandarin language classes and UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism, and then to KQED Radio in San Francisco. From there, I started freelancing for The World and joined the team full-time here in Boston in late 2001.In my previous life as a reporter, I was blessed with the opportunity to cover a huge range of stories for The World. But some of the most memorable ones involved taking a trip on a Louisiana shrimping boat in the Gulf of Mexico, covering events in Egypt during the so-called Arab Spring, and meeting North Korean refugees in Seoul, South Korea.I’m super interested in religion and I tend to think most big news stories have an important, if overlooked, religion angle. I’ve reported a lot on US foreign policy, human rights in China, North Korea’s nuclear activities and life in Israel and the Palestinian territories. Beyond journalism, I’m helping to raise kids and engaged in the lifelong pursuit of learning to play the electric guitar.

ICC prosecutor seeks arrest warrants for leaders from Hamas and Israel

Israel-Hamas war

The top prosecutor at the International Criminal Court today announced a request for arrest warrants for top leaders from both Hamas and the Israeli government. Karim Khan said that he has reason to believe that Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, along with the Israeli defense minister, and three top leaders from Hamas all “bear criminal responsibility” for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity. 

Gaza war is putting Egyptian-Israeli relations to the test

Israel-Hamas war
Yahya Sinwar, head of Hamas in Gaza, delivers a speech during a rally marking "Jerusalem Day," or Al-Quds Day, an annual celebration to support Palestinians in the holy city, at a soccer filed in Gaza City, Friday, April 14, 2023.

Who is Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar and what does he want? 

Israel-Hamas war
This photo provided by the Israel Defense Forces shows a tank with an Israel flag on it entering the Gazan side of the Rafah border crossing on Tuesday, May 7, 2024.

As Israel moves into Rafah, are ceasefire talks over? 

Netanyahu says stopping the Gaza war now is ‘not an option’

Israel-Hamas war

‘We need to fix the country’: Israelis ponder a post-war future 

Conflict & Justice

US President Joe Biden says Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is making a “mistake” with his approach to Gaza. More than 70% of Israeli respondents of a recent survey said Netanyahu should either resign now, or as soon as the war in Gaza ends. The World’s Matthew Bell is in Jerusalem and he’s been speaking with Israelis about how they’re thinking of the post-war future.

For Palestinians, a grim reality in Gaza obscures the future

Israel-Hamas war

The Biden administration says it’s looking for leadership from the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank after the war in Gaza is over. A new technocratic government has been sworn in, but as war continues to rage in Gaza, Palestinians are not hopeful. The World’s Matthew Bell speaks with people in the West Bank city of Ramallah about their vision for the future. 

Rows of people kneeling in prayer

Tens of thousands attend Friday prayers at Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem

Israel-Hamas war

On April 5, the final Friday in the Islamic holy month of Ramadan this year — a special time for Muslims worldwide — more than 3,500 Israeli police were deployed at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. Here, an estimated 57,000 Muslims attended Friday prayers. 

man in front of bookcase

Sharing the national burden in Israel

Israel-Hamas war

In Israel, most Jewish men are drafted into three years of military service soon after they graduate from high school. Jewish women serve two-year stints. The ultra-Orthodox community has been exempt. But this is beginning to change. Israel’s Supreme Court just ruled that religious seminaries called yeshivas are being cut off from government funding because they don’t send students into the military.

Israelis demonstrate outside the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, to call for new elections, Jerusalem, April 1, 2024.

Israelis set up a tent city in Jerusalem to protest Netanyahu and call for new elections

Israel-Hamas war

Demonstrators are calling for new elections to protest Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government. They’ve camped out in front of the Knesset. Protests in Israel are not new, but what is new are the people who’ve joined ranks in this demonstration. The World’s host, Marco Werman, and reporter Matthew Bell are in Jerusalem.