Benjamin Netanyahu: A Friendly Assessment
By Hal Lindsey
For the first time in 12 years, Benjamin Netanyahu is not the Prime Minister of Israel. He served in that position from 1996 to 1999, and then from 2009 to 2021. During those years, he accumulated enemies every step of the way — enemies from Washington to Tehran to Tel Aviv. But despite the widespread, organized opposition, he stayed in power longer than any other Prime Minister in Israel’s history.
When I interviewed Mr. Netanyahu in November of 2005, I asked what he would do if elected Prime Minister again. His answer reflected his tough, pragmatic, and well-reasoned approach to governing. “I'd stop the policy of unilateral withdrawals in the face of terror,” he said. He went on to give specific instances where Israel won on the battlefield, then gave away those gains at the negotiating table. This gave Palestinians the impression that terrorism works.
I asked about the danger of Iran gaining nuclear weapons. You can see in his answer why he made the prevention of a nuclear Iran a cornerstone of his foreign policy. He said, “They openly declare their intention to destroy Israel…. They have an equal animosity to you [Americans] because, remember again, we're ‘the little Satan.’ You're ‘the big Satan.’… They hate us because of you, because we represent this hated western civilization that they so abhor.”
He said to imagine the Iranian regime “with its furnaces of fanaticism” acquiring nuclear weapons. It would “be a tremendous shield for terror, and they might also use the weapon itself…. Once a country has nuclear weapons, all the calculations for dealing with it, or acting against it, are different. So, I would say that the imperative for the United States and for the free world is to make sure that the Ayatollah regime does not develop and possess atomic weapons.”
The western world did not heed his warnings, but his Arab neighbors did. Shared concern over Iranian aggression helped bring about the Abraham Accords. Even so, getting these Muslim nations to work together in peace with their former enemy was not easy. Mr. Netanyahu showed diplomatic genius in shepherding the Accords along. And, as much as people hate giving President Trump credit for anything, no one can deny his administration’s key role in the Accords.
We do not yet know the policies or tenor of Israel’s new leadership. The new government coalition is remarkably broad, but because of that, it is extremely fragile. It brings together elements from across Israel’s political spectrum. Their unity seems to be based on a mutual disdain for Benjamin Netanyahu. To thrive, they will need more than that.
Naftali Bennett, Israel’s new Prime Minister, remains something of a mystery. He describes himself as “more right wing” than Netanyahu. That may be true. We will see. Before becoming a political rival, he worked for Mr. Netanyahu in several positions, including Chief of Staff.
Israel’s rebirth was a miracle, and so is the nation’s continued existence. It has continued because God miraculously intervened again and again. Benjamin Netanyahu was one of those miracles. His leadership came at a crucial time. But miracles are God’s work. They do not depend on any one person. Despite changes in leadership, God will continue to do what He said He would do regarding the State of Israel in the end times.
He gave us His word.