A New Page in Israel-Libya Ties Is Coming

People burn tires and block roads in Tripoli on August 27 to protest Libya’s foreign minister’s meeting with Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen.
Hazem Turkia/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A New Page in Israel-Libya Ties Is Coming

But not in a good way

What will be the next Arab nation to recognize Israel? That has been on people’s minds ever since Israel signed the Abraham Accords with four Arab states in 2020. Rumors are that Saudi Arabia could be close to making a deal. But on August 27, Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen announced he met with Libyan Foreign Minster Najla Mangoush in Rome. This was the first-ever meeting between the countries’ foreign ministers. The meeting was hosted and facilitated by Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani.

Cohen discussed possible Israeli humanitarian assistance to Libya, which could include cooperation in agriculture and water management. Cohen also asked Mangoush that Libya take steps to preserve Libya’s former Jewish heritage, including renovating synagogues. Cohen said he “spoke with the foreign minister about the great potential for the two countries from their relations.”

There is one problem with all of this. None of it was supposed to be leaked to the public. After Cohen’s words circulated the Internet, Tripoli went into chaos.

The Libyan Foreign Ministry downplayed the meeting, calling it an “unprepared” and “unofficial” rendezvous. According to the Foreign Ministry, the meeting didn’t contain “any talks, agreements or consultations.”

Libyan Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah fired Mangoush, who has now fled to Turkey for her own safety. Dbeibeh also launched an investigation into Mangoush’s conduct. He reaffirmed “Libya’s refusal to normalize relations with the Zionist entity.”

Dbeibah’s actions make it sound like he wasn’t aware the meeting took place. However, a Libyan official told the Associated Press that Dbeibah green-lighted the meeting in July. Apparently, the suggestion for Libya to normalize relations with Israel was first given in January by United States Central Intelligence Agency Director William Burns. According to AP, Dbeibah liked the idea but “was concerned about public backlash in a country known for its past support for the Palestinian cause.”

If the Libyan government agreed to this meeting ahead of time, why is it pretending it never happened?

Libya is not Saudi Arabia, Bahrain or Morocco. Those countries have plenty of people who don’t like Israel’s relations with the Palestinians, but they accept that Israel has a right to exist and have no problems with official relations with Israel. In contrast, to most Libyans, even the suggestion of relations with Israel makes their government look illegitimate.

In response to the meeting, protesters in Tripoli and other Libyan cities blocked roads and set tires afire. Some waved Palestinian flags and shouted pro-Palestinian chants.

The protests appeared small. It looks like no revolution is going to happen in Tripoli because of a meeting with Eli Cohen—yet. But under a 1957 law, it is illegal for the country to have formal relations with Israel. That was back when Libya was a monarchy. That law has outlasted the dictatorship of Muammar Qadhafi, the Arab Spring and the Libyan republic’s current fragile peace. If more evidence surfaces suggesting Libya was about to recognize Israel, Dbeibah could become a criminal in most Libyans’ eyes. And why would any of his people—or his soldiers—stay loyal to an illegitimate, criminal regime?

Dbeibah’s government, sponsored by the United Nations, rules only western Libya. Eastern Libya is ruled by warlord Khalifa Haftar. There is currently a ceasefire between the two parties, keeping the country together. But it wouldn’t take much to unravel this ceasefire and plunge Libya back into civil war. Allegations that the western government is colluding with the “occupying Zionist regime” could give Haftar enough legitimacy to try to conquer Tripoli again.

Libya is still reeling from the effects of its civil war and needs cash, infrastructure development and international partners. For Dbeibah, recognizing Israel in exchange for Israeli financing would be a smart move. But with the Libyan people’s historical animosity to Israel, he would have to formalize relations in a very underhanded way.

Cohen’s comments have torpedoed any deal for the foreseeable future.

An anonymous figure in Mossad, Israel’s external intelligence agency, was quoted by Israel’s Channel 12 as saying the announcement “has dealt immense damage to the ties formed in recent years.” The source said Cohen “burned the bridge. It’s irreparable.” Other media cited U.S. officials who said the blunder would “deter other countries from embarking on a normalization process with Israel.”

The United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco all felt secure enough to recognize Israel. Sudan is in a civil war of its own, but its government still normalized relations with Israel. Saudi Arabia can publicly talk about exchanging embassies without expecting a revolution. But Libya is so anti-Israel that the fragile government had to disavow any ties lest it get overthrown. Perhaps the government will give way to a new regime that does represent the will of the people toward Israel.

The Holy Bible says such a revolution is coming.

Daniel 11:40-43 prophesy of two end-time kings: “the king of the north” and “the king of the south.” These represent two power blocs meant to clash in our day. The prophecy reads:

And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over. … He shall stretch forth his hand also upon the countries: and the land of Egypt shall not escape. But he shall have power over the treasures of gold and of silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt: and the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall be at his steps.

Biblical and secular history prove the king of the north to be a united European power. (See here for more information.) For decades, the Trumpet has identified the king of the south as radical Islam. The leader of this bloc will be Iran. But Iran will have friends—especially in Africa. The prophecy shows these include Egypt, Ethiopia and Libya.

“Now, why would God have [Libya and Ethiopia] mentioned in there?” Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry asked in a February 2011 Key of David episode. “It has a great deal to do with the overall strategy of radical Islam.” He wrote in a subsequent article: “So you need to watch Libya and Ethiopia. They are about to fall under the heavy influence or control of Iran, the king of the south. That is why they are subdued in the king of the north victory.”

In other words, we can expect a radical Islamist takeover of Libya soon.

Libya today is not Israel’s closest friend. But Libya becoming an Islamist Iranian puppet state would be a nightmare for Israel. The Bible says this will happen.

To learn more, request a free copy of Mr. Flurry’s booklet Libya and Ethiopia in Prophecy.