Defense System Sale Marks ‘Historic Turning Point’ in Israel-Germany Relations
The United States on August 17 approved Israel’s sale of the Arrow 3 missile defense system to Germany. The Arrow 3 is Israel’s most sophisticated long-range missile defense system. Whereas systems like Iron Dome strike low-altitude rockets coming from regional foes, Arrow 3 attacks ballistic missiles outside Earth’s atmosphere. The system is meant to counter weapons like nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles.
Since Arrow 3 was a joint project with the U.S., any sale required approval from the American government. Now that it has been approved, it will be Israel’s largest-ever defense sale.
Israel cooperates with Europe in security matters all the time. Mossad is working with European intelligence in the context of Russia’s war on Ukraine. The European Union uses Israeli spyware. But selling such a sophisticated missile defense system to Germany is noteworthy.
The Holocaust is still within living memory. One could consider the Holocaust to have been the catalyst for the State of Israel’s existence—the reason Jews needed a homeland of their own. Because their previous homes, their families and their whole world were annihilated by the Nazi regime.
Communist East Germany’s attacks against Israel were even more recent. By sponsoring and supporting Palestinian terrorist groups and hostile Arab governments, East Germany was, in a sense, at war with Israel.
Europe wants the Arrow 3 for protection against a possible nuclear attack from Russia. Israel providing protection to Germany against annihilation is historic. Many statesmen recognize this.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is among them. “Seventy-five years ago, the Jewish people were crushed to ashes in Nazi Germany,” he said. “Seventy-five years later, the Jewish state gives Germany, another Germany, tools to defend itself. … What Israeli pride. What a historic turning point.”
Israeli Ambassador to Germany Ron Prosor lauded the agreement in a tweet:
This is a historic day that marks the Zeitenwende (turning point) in Israel-Germany relations. For the first time, an Israeli system will protect the skies of Germany and Europe as a whole. … The close cooperation with our German colleagues on this exemplifies the depth of the strategic relationship between Israel and Germany. As Israel’s ambassador to Germany, I am proud that the nation-state of the Jewish people, 75 years after its foundation, is contributing to protecting Germany and Europe.
Jewish News Syndicate (jns) interviewed German Ambassador to Israel Steffen Seibert on the sale:
We are moving towards a deal in which an Israeli system helps defend Germany and parts of Europe. Anybody with any knowledge of history, of the suffering of the Jewish people at the hands of Germany, of the miraculous way in which our bilateral relations have developed in the postwar era—anybody can understand why that would be of such symbolic value.
The Arrow 3 defense deal is a “historic turning point.” But not in the way most people think.
The sale is not only to Germany but all of Europe. jns asked Seibert about Germany’s plans for Arrow 3. “Of course, this is about protecting Germany,” Seibert answered. “But the idea is to integrate the system into European air defense, so Arrow 3 will also protect neighboring European countries.”
This may not seem too strange since Germany is an EU member state and the EU as a whole is facing a threat from Russia. But the EU itself was, like Israel, born from the ashes of World War ii. European politicians—including many from Germany—surveyed the damage of war. They saw a supranational economic and political power as the solution to Europe’s woes. Today, the EU has its own capital, flag, anthem, currency, border, border patrol, police force, foreign ministry, parliament, court system and much more. Never before has all of Europe from Portugal to Finland been one political union.
Europe is a superpower in the making. It’s a dysfunctional superpower in many ways. Brexit still haunts Europe’s halls of power, with many wondering if France or Italy will be next. Europe still lacks a strong leader and a united, cohesive military. But the Arrow 3 sale will give teeth to Europe’s military.
Germany’s old ghosts are also rising. Netanyahu called modern Germany “a different Germany” from the one led by Adolf Hitler. But while Germany’s Nazi legacy is underground, it is far from dead.
Polls suggest the Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) is Germany’s second-most popular party. This far-right party openly espouses neo-Nazi views. In 2017, AfD rising star Björn Höcke called Berlin’s Holocaust memorial “a monument of shame” and called for a “180-degree reversal on the politics of remembrance.” Höcke recently called for the German school system to halt integration of disabled children. Last month, the Frankfurt public prosecutor’s office judged it appropriate for protesters to call Höcke a “Nazi.”
The next German federal election isn’t scheduled until 2025. But if current polling trends continue, there is a decent chance AfD could become part of the government.
The German government is dealing with far-right problems of its own. Hans-Georg Maaßen, the former head of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (Germany’s domestic intelligence agency), has recently been put under investigation for links to a far-right movement. Case after case shows how thoroughly far-right extremism has infiltrated the German military.
Countries don’t sell weapons systems like Arrow 3 haphazardly. Ukraine has been pushing to buy Israel’s defense systems, but to no avail. Iran is very active in Ukraine, and Israel worries that if it were to send its systems to Ukraine, Iran might get control of them and learn their secrets. Israel’s sale of Arrow 3 to Germany shows how much trust it has that Germany—and Europe as a whole—won’t betray it.
I recently visited Israel. My stopover going there and coming back was in Frankfurt. Germany takes Israeli security so seriously there is a “sub terminal” within the terminal for Israeli flights where one must go through an extra security check.
Frankfurt Airport is a large, impressive building. It’s user-friendly inter-airport train makes it easy to navigate. It’s a modern, glass-and-steel edifice with no hint of the cobblestoned, Old World charm most people visit Europe to see.
On my inbound journey to Israel, German air space was hosting the largest North Atlantic Treaty Organization air exercises in the alliance’s history. The reason for the massive exercises: Russia and the war to Germany’s east.
In many ways, Frankfurt Airport is a lot like how Israelis see Germany today. It is modern, built with new materials that have nothing to do with what the old Germany was made of. It is committed to Israel’s security. It is committed to protecting freedom and countering violent dictators on the European continent. It is completely different from the Germany that tried to make the Jewish race extinct. It is a safe country you can trust with the inner workings of your fundamental defense systems.
The growing anti-Semitism isn’t even noticed.
The Trumpet analyzes world news through the lens of Bible prophecy. And one prophecy sheds light on Israel’s misguided trust of Germany.
Ezekiel 23 is a prophecy of two sisters: Aholah and Aholibah. Aholibah represents “Jerusalem,” or the Jewish State of Israel. Aholah represents the United States and Britain (verse 4). (Request a free copy of The United States and Britain in Prophecy, by Herbert W. Armstrong for more information.) Anciently, the Israelite peoples were married to their God (Jeremiah 3:20), but they have forsaken Him, trusting foreign militaries instead.
Ezekiel’s prophecy continues some specifics of Aholibah’s (the Jewish state’s) adulteries. “[S]he became more corrupt in her lust than she [Aholah], and in her harlotry more corrupt than her sister’s harlotry. She lusted for the neighboring Assyrians, Captains and rulers, Clothed most gorgeously, Horsemen riding on horses, All of them desirable young men” (verses 11-12; New King James Version).
The Assyrians today are the modern Germans. Other prophecies show that Germany will eventually attack the Israelite nations (e.g. Isaiah 10:5-6). But Ezekiel 23 shows that Israel first cooperates with Assyria. The Jews see Germany’s growing military might and like what they see. They begin to trust Germany to protect them rather than God.
Ezekiel reveals the end result of this “love affair”: “Therefore, [Aholibah]—here is the Lord the Eternal’s sentence—I will rouse your lovers against you, the lovers you broke with; I will mass them all around you … all the Assyrians, handsome young fellows all of them, prefects and governors, captains and councillors, all riding on horseback; they shall attack you with many chariots and cars, and with a host of nations … I will entrust judgement to them, and they shall sentence you” (verses 22-24; Moffatt translation).
In other words, there is a military double cross coming.
People may think Israel-Germany relations have turned 180 degrees since the Holocaust. But Bible prophecy states that Israel trusts Germany at its own peril. To learn more, request a free copy of Germany and the Holy Roman Empire.