Israeli Ambassador: Iran Has US in Its Crosshairs
WASHINGTON -- Israel's enemies are America's enemies. That's one reason polls show an overwhelming majority of Americans support the Jewish state.
Given Iran's nuclear ambitions, that support has never been more critical. Ambassador Ron Dermer, Israel's newest voice in Washington, wants to grow his country's relationship with one of its strongest allies: Christians.
Dermer warned Iran already has America in its crosshairs.
"Iran is building ICBMs, intercontinental ballistic missiles," he told CBN News. "They're not building them for Israel -- their missiles can already reach Israel."
How is Iran's nuclear program not just a problem for Israel, but a problem for America as well?
Dermer explained it's "because we're [Israel] the Little Satan to Iran [and] you're [the United States] are the Great Satan."
"The only thing you put on an ICBM is a nuclear warhead. That's it," he continued. "And they're designed to be propelled, to be sent, thousands of miles across the ocean to try to reach you."
Dermer is uniquely positioned to speak to Americans. Although an Israeli citizen, Dermer was born and raised in the United States.
His father and brother both served as mayor of Miami Beach, and Dermer attended the University of Pennsylvania.
"My whole belief system is based on being raised in this country," Dermer said. "When I think of courage, I think of Normandy because I was born and raised as an American."
"And when I think of justice, I think of Martin Luther King, Jr. because I was born and raised in America," he continued. "And when I think of wisdom, I think of Lincoln -- Abraham Lincoln."
Dermer moved to Israel in the 1990s and rose to become Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's closest adviser.
Yet Dermer told CBN News he still speaks "American," a trait that will come in handy as he tries to convince Americans about Iran's true danger.
"Iran is the foremost sponsor of terrorism in the world. In the last three years alone they have perpetrated terror attacks in 25 countries over five continents," Dermer said.
"You do not want to give the foremost sponsor of terrorism in the world," he warned. "You don't want them anywhere close to nuclear weapons because then you could find those weapons in a theatre very close to you."
According to Dermer, the only way to stop Iran's nuclear weapons program is through crippling sanctions and a credible military threat.
As Israel's ambassador, he must make that case directly to the White House.
President Barack Obama opposes new sanctions and is committed to dialogue and diplomacy with the Iranian regime.
"The only way that this regime in Iran will give up their nuclear program is if they're faced with a choice between the survival of the regime and the weapons program," Dermer said. "If that's the choice that Iran faces, then they'll give up that program. If they don't face that choice, they will not give up the program."
In facing Iran and other existential threats, Dermer said Israel has no greater ally than American Christians.
"I believe that the Christian community in the United States -- the tens of millions of Christians, of evangelical Christians, throughout this country -- can stand shoulder to shoulder with Israel and beat back any attempts to delegitimize, to libel, to malign Israel," he said.
That's one reason one of his missions will be to strengthen that partnership.
"I think that in the relationship between Christians and the State of Israel, we have only scratched the surface," he said. "There's a lot more to come."