Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu views himself as a "figure of destiny" and returned to the political limelight in order to "stop Iran," according to a veteran journalist who recently interviewed him.
TBN's Erick Stakelbeck, host of the newsmagazine series The Watchman, said Netanyahu could have retired after being ousted in 2021 but chose to stay in the political realm due to several significant issues. Stakelbeck's interview with Netanyahu airs on TBN on Dec. 22 at 10 p.m. Eastern.
Netanyahu is set to return to political power in light of November's election victory.
"I said, 'What are your goals for this new government?' [He said,] number one, stopping Iran's nuclear program. Number two, expanding the Abraham Accords peace treaties – and he specifically mentioned Saudi Arabia. He said that would be, quote, 'a quantum leap' for Israel and Saudi Arabia to make peace. Number three, he wants to continue to build Israel into an economic powerhouse [with] the scientific, the high tech, the medical breakthroughs. So those are his three big goals going forward," Stakelbeck told Christian Headlines. "But overshadowing our whole conversation is Iran.
"Look, he is 73 years old. He could have gone off into the sunset. He already accomplished so much as Israel's longest-serving prime minister. Much of the left-wing media there are completely against him and his family, and yet, he came back. He came back – the main reason he made clear – was to stop Iran."
Netanyahu "sees himself as a figure of destiny," Stakelbeck said.
"He's a big admirer of Winston Churchill, the great British prime minister, and he sees himself, I believe, as sort of a modern-day Churchill," Stakelbeck said. "Churchill saw the gathering storm of Nazi Germany during the 1930s. Netanyahu has seen the gathering storm of Iran when no one else wanted to listen."
The Watchman is a weekly TBN show that delivers on-the-ground news about Israel and the Middle East. Stakelbeck also hosts The Watchman Newscast on YouTube.
"Israel is the first line of defense for the West," Stakelbeck said. "Israel's enemies and America's enemies are one and the same – and Israel is right there in the belly of the beast on the front lines."
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Amir Levy/Stringer
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.