Breaking Down the Wall
One could see it coming—but it was still breathtaking to watch.
Thousands of angry demonstrators descended on Israel’s embassy in Cairo on the evening of September 9, terrifying the 80 some people inside. Sometime after midnight, Israel’s ambassador to Egypt, his family and most of the embassy personnel were forced to evacuate to Cairo’s airport, where they were whisked away by Israeli military jets.
Six Israeli intelligence officers remained, charged with the unenviable task of protecting the embassy. Fearing for their lives, they barricaded themselves in the embassy strong room. The mob outside had demolished the 8-foot concrete wall surrounding the compound and were walking around embassy facilities, tossing papers out windows and burning the Israeli flag. Locked inside the strong room, the officers listened as the hammers beat down the doors that separated them from certain death. When the mob began beating the last door, three of the officers stood and aimed their weapons toward the door.
Meanwhile, the commanding officer was on the phone with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He asked for backup, and that his prime minister would deliver news of his capture or death to his parents in person rather than over the phone.
Thankfully, the officers were rescued.
Reading about these events, one is struck by the broader parallel: Israel’s embassy crisis is a microcosm of the dilemma now facing the entire Jewish nation.
First Egypt …
By now even the most ardent peaceniks are realizing that the now-forming post-Mubarak Egypt will not be a pro-Israel state.
When Israel’s embassy was besieged, it wasn’t just anti-Israel protesters who were hostile. It took the president of the U.S. calling and threatening retaliation before Egypt’s military rulers would dispatch commandos to rescue the trapped Israelis. Egypt’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces could easily have prevented the demonstrators from breaching the embassy. It chose not to. The demonstration got out of hand, Stratfor reported, because there “was an order from the top to allow the situation to become a near crisis before intervening to stop it” (September 13).
This was a manufactured crisis, one that could very easily have turned out much differently.
This is an epic shift from what has been the status quo in the region for over three decades. Since 1979, when Egypt and Israel signed the Camp David Accords, that peace agreement has underpinned Middle East stability and prevented a massive military confrontation between Jews and Arabs. “It is the foundation both of Israel’s security doctrine and the Jewish state’s transformation from an economic basket case into a First World economic power. It has made possible every hopeful move toward Arab-Israeli peace for the past generation,” wrote Washington Institute executive director Robert Satloff. “And it—the Egypt-Israel peace treaty—is hanging on by a thread” (The Jerusalem Report, September 26; emphasis added throughout).
What does the crumpling of that treaty mean for Israel?
Following the embassy invasion, Ethan Bronner, the New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief, wrote that the “growing hostility from Egypt could require a radical rethinking of Israel’s defense doctrine which, for the past three decades, counted on peace on its southern border” (September 10). The uptick of violence against Israel in the Sinai and the now routine outbursts of public hatred for Israel in Egypt have “military strategists … examining how to beef up protection of the south, including by the building of an anti-infiltration wall in the Sinai,” Bronner said.
Jerusalem Post columnist Caroline Glick endorsed similar measures. Israel “must prepare for the possibility of war,” she warned. “It must increase the size of the idf by adding a division to the Southern Command. It must train for desert warfare. It must expand the Navy” (September 12).
To be sure, fortifying the military wall that protects Israel from attack is a rational step to take in light of recent events. But the reality is, such measures would essentially be the same as the 8-foot concrete barrier erected to protect Israel’s embassy in Cairo: that is, a wall that creates a false sense of security and that will collapse under the weight of overwhelming force.
This may seem like a hopeless and pessimistic point to make, but it is the truth. Israel needs more than military muscle—it needs an act of God.
… Then Turkey
Next to Egypt, the moderate government in Turkey has been Israel’s most important regional ally for decades, and a pillar of Israel’s national security. In recent years, however, particularly under the leadership of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey has undergone a quiet revolution, one that has involved Ankara increasingly sabotaging its relationship with the Jewish state in an effort to bolster its reputation among Muslim states (article, page 22).
Lately, especially since the “Arab Spring” dawned on the Middle East and North Africa, Turkey has become ever more combative with Israel. In the first two weeks of September, Ankara suspended military ties with Israel, kicked out Israel’s ambassador and began persecuting Israelis who were visiting Turkey. In what was an interesting coincidence, Turkey’s prime minister visited Egypt two days after the sacking of Israel’s embassy. During his visit, Erdoğan concentrated on strengthening Turkey’s relationship with Egypt’s new government, framing his comments with belligerent statements about the Jewish state.
The loss of Turkey as a more moderate Arab state and Ankara’s growing animosity toward Israel is deeply concerning for the Jews. As Caroline Glick wrote, “[W]e need to recognize that what we are experiencing now is the beginning, not the end, of Turkey’s slide into the enemy camp. Erdoğan is openly taking steps to transform Turkey into an Islamic state along the lines of Iran. And the further he goes down his chosen path, the more harshly and aggressively he will lash out at Israel” (ibid, September 5).
Israel’s situation is painfully grim. As a European envoy in Jerusalem put it the week after the storming of the embassy in Cairo, “Within a week Israel has found itself two friends down and about to face a so-called diplomatic tsunami with the Palestinians.”
In fact, the situation is markedly worse than that: Israel hasn’t simply lost Egypt and Turkey as regional allies—it has gained both as enemies.
Cairo and Ankara are not severing relations with Israel and repositioning themselves as moderate, neutral states. They are not simply resigning from Israel’s team, choosing instead to sit as passive spectators on the sidelines. Rather, as they discard their alliances with Israel, both are willfully,vigorously throwing their support behind Israel’s number one enemy.
The peril is less that Israel’s position is being weakened, and more that Iran and its radical Islamic proxies are being dramatically strengthened!
In a televised address following the emergency rescue of Israel’s ambassador, Prime Minister Netanyahu said the Middle East is “now undergoing a political earthquake of historic proportions.” There are so many events of extreme significance in this world it’s easy to overlook how extraordinary, how historic and how dangerous for Israel the changes in Egypt and Turkey are.
The fate of nations, even entire regions, turns on moments like this.
Mr. Netanyahu sees that right now vast tracts of the Middle East, territorially, politically and strategically, belong to Iran and radical Islam. Soon, this Iran-led radical Islamic mob will descend on Israel with overwhelming numbers and force. Like its embassy in Cairo before the raid, the Jewish state has a defensive wall—a top-notch military, crack intelligence and state-of-the-art anti-missile defense systems. That wall might hold for a while longer. But with each passing month, its ability to protect and defend will diminish, one missile, one terrorist attack at a time.Like its embassy in Cairo, Israel is outnumbered, a tiny speck in a region seething with hatred for the Jewish state. Like the embassy, Israel’s national security depends largely on others, be they regional allies or the United States. And much like embassy officials experienced firsthand on September 9, the willingness of Israel’s traditional allies to defend Jewish sovereignty is rapidly shrinking. In some instances, these allies are even creating crises, like Egypt’s military rulers did at the embassy.
Soon, perhaps in a few months or maybe next year or the year after, the weight of the Islamic mob will cause the wall to crumble and collapse. What will happen then?
Bible prophecy tells us that just as a full-scale incursion and takeover of Israel by radical Islam is occurring, Israel will make a phone call. Not to the White House, or to the United Nations. Rather, prophecy reveals that Israel’s leaders, barricaded behind a crumbling wall, will turn to Europe. At the last minute, a German-led European army will swoop in to rescue the Jewish state and obliterate the forces of radical Islam. However, prophecy is clear that this invading army will prove to be a counterfeit peacemaker, and will turn against the Jews in a shockingly cruel double cross.
Maybe that sounds fanciful. But think for a moment—to many, so did our forecasts nearly 20 years ago that Egypt would fall to radical Islam and align with Iran; that Turkey would eventually turn on Israel; and that Iran would emerge as the king of Islamic terrorism. Today, each one of these Bible-based forecasts is reality.
It’s true that the loss of Egypt and Turkey as regional allies is a disaster for Israel. But the real catastrophe is that the actions of Cairo and Ankara have not simply weakened Israel, they have empowered Israel’s enemy
The stage is set for Israel to be besieged. It is practically friendless in the world and former allies are now enemies—the situation is ripe for Israel to turn to Europe for help!
Although we can see it coming, this too will be breathtaking to watch.