Profile: News director provides insight on Israeli–Palestinian conflict

Death toll on Gaza Strip rises, Stakelbeck shares his experience covering military action
Eyes looking ahead, news director Erick Stakelbeck shares his reports with the public. I just spent two eye-opening days, Stakelbeck said, On the very tense Israel/Lebanon border talking with the IDF (Israel Defense Force), experts and officials about the Hezbollah threat at their doorstep.
Eyes looking ahead, news director Erick Stakelbeck shares his reports with the public. “I just spent two eye-opening days,” Stakelbeck said, “On the very tense Israel/Lebanon border talking with the IDF (Israel Defense Force), experts and officials about the Hezbollah threat at their doorstep.”
Photo courtesy of Erick Stakelbeck

He calls the experience heartbreaking. But, news director Erick Stakelbeck says he wants to give viewers perspective.

As the war between Israel and Palestine reaches six months of conflict, locals, journalists and people worldwide witness the event affecting millions of people. Erick Stakelbeck, host of the ‘Stakelbeck Tonight” show on TBN – the world’s largest Christian television network, recently returned from his time covering the events in Gaza. Stakelbeck arrived in Israel on Feb. 2 and departed on Feb. 9 to cover the current events in Israel and witness the events following the Oct. 7 attack.

“I had many memorable encounters with residents of southern Israel, who shared heartbreaking stories of how they and their families were directly affected by the Oct. 7 massacre,” Stakelbeck said. “I spent time in northern Israel, near the Lebanon border, interviewing residents there who’ve been evacuated from their homes due to the Hezbollah threat.”

Earlier this year, Stakelbeck spent February in Israel interviewing and speaking to locals about the conflict between Israel and Palestine. Stakelbeck interviewed spokespeople from the Israel Defense Forces, The Israeli Minister of the Economy, Nir Barkat and Knesset member Danny Danon.

News services and networks provide the public with important information like this. Journalists gather facts, conduct interviews, and report on events to inform people worldwide.

— Paulina Kiser, junior

“The most impactful stories were from people who live in southern Israel, near the Gaza border, whose homes were destroyed on Oct. 7,” Stakelbeck said. “We walked through the scenes of the carnage. Also, the family members of Israelis are still being held captive by Hamas in Gaza. These were heart-wrenching stories.”

Before heading to Israel, Stakelbeck prepared for the trip by planning and speaking with his team, which was already in Israel to better understand the situation. His colleague, Joel Rosenberg, host of the Rosenberg Report on TBN, is based in Jerusalem and also covering the war. 

“I gathered information by interviewing and talking to Israelis (including military and government officials) on the ground throughout my trip,” Stakelbeck said. “In advance of the trip (pre-production), I regularly spoke to my team in Israel to get a sense of the situation on the ground. We were always ready to adjust by having an ’emergency exit plan’ for every location where we filmed.”

Stakelbeck covers events in the Middle East regularly, a reason that led him to cover the conflict with Israel and Gaza. 

“I knew right away,” Stakelbeck said. “On Oct. 7, when Hamas invaded southern Israel and murdered 1,200 people, that I needed to travel to Israel and give my viewers an on-the-ground perspective of what was happening.”

When he arrived Feb. 2, some areas along the Gaza and Lebanon borders were closed military zones, but officials permitted Stakelbeck, along with other reporters, to enter with the Israeli military. 

“I noticed that the people of Israel were very much united, more so than at any other time in recent memory,” Stakelbeck said. “And all I spoke to were committed to defeating Hamas.”

To ensure safety while covering a dangerous area, Stakelbeck made sure he was with locals who knew the area well and who had military backgrounds and weapon training. On his recent visit, Israeli soldiers were always present.

“Israelis of all backgrounds are chipping in to help each other during these difficult times,” Stakelbeck said. “Rebuilding and supporting those who’ve been impacted by the war and events of Oct. 7.”

Israel’s war with Gaza reached 201 days on April 24.

Spending time in Israel’s Matte Asher region, News director Erick Stakelbeck interviewed Mayor Moshe Davidovitz. “At least 60,000 residents of northern Israel have been evacuated due to the daily Hezbollah rocket, and missile barrages, with no timetable to return home,” Stakelbeck said. “We’re here all week to share their stories.” (Photo courtesy of Erick Stakelbeck)

“Relations between Israelis and Palestinians are tense right now in the wake of Oct. 7 and will take time to mend,” Stakelbeck said. “I did see reconciliation and unity among Israelis of all political backgrounds, after a year of anti-government protests that had left the country very divided.”

The areas along Israel’s border with Gaza are still an active military zone.

“The war has united all Israelis,” Stakelbeck said. “It’s a small country, and everyone knows someone who was affected by Oct. 7 or who is serving in the military.”

Throughout his time reporting, Stakelbeck and other reporters made sure to always stay with government and military officials – they did not leave the group for safety precautions.  

“The areas along Israel’s border with Gaza are still an active military zone,” Stakelbeck said. “We heard explosions and gunfire from the Gaza border, and there was still some sporadic rocket fire. We stayed close to the Israel Defense Forces soldiers in the area and did not stray off on our own.”

The war is taking place on the Gaza Strip, which is a narrow strip of land where refugees live as a result of the conflicts between Palestine and Israel. 

“The security situation near the Lebanon border (northern Israel) felt even more tense in some respects than the Gaza border region,” Stakelbeck said. “Due to the looming war with Hezbollah, it is a very dangerous terrorist organization that is much stronger than Hamas.”

News services and reporters allow us to be informed of what’s happening in the world around us, and have a better perspective of what’s going on.

— Grace Peden, junior

Stakelbeck said his passion for reporting as a news director and personal love for Israel led him to cover the current events in Israel.

“It didn’t change my overall perspective,” Stakelbeck said, covering the Israeli war on Gaza. “But did give me a much better handle on the situation unfolding on the ground right now and how to cover it.

Stakelbeck shared his reports on all of his news platforms, and social media to share with the public during his time in Israel. Besides being the host of  ‘The Watchman’ Newscast, Stakelbeck also hosts a new nightly show, “Stakelbeck Tonight” that launched March 25. Stackelbeck returned to the U.S. on Feb. 10, where he continues to share his coverage of the war of Israel on Gaza. His connection with Israel motivated him to cover the current events in the Gaza Strip. 

“I have a deep personal love for Israel as the Land of the Bible,” Stakelbeck said. “It’s home to many of my close friends and colleagues.”

Editor’s Note: Erick Stakelbeck visited Prosper in late February. During his trip, assistant editor and reporter Sofia Ayala interviewed him. He’s also answered several follow-up interview questions for Ayala, as well.

Leave a Comment
Donate to Eagle Nation Online
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of Prosper High School. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Sofia Ayala
Sofia Ayala, Assistant Print Editor
Sofia Ayala is a junior at Prosper High School. This is her third year working for Eagle Nation Online. She currently serves as Assistant Editor for Eagle Nation Times, and served as the Feature editor in the past. Sofia is part of the varsity PHS Talonettes where she enjoys to work together with her team. Outside of school, she enjoys going out on runs, reading, and listening to music.  
Donate to Eagle Nation Online
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All Eagle Nation Online Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *