The Beginning of the End: The Alignment of the Nations Against Israel/Program 2
|By: Adnan Husseini, Benjamin Netanyahu, Moshe Arens, Major General (retired) Jacob Amidror, Lt. General Jerry Boykin, Itamar Marcus, Dr. Gabriel Barkay, Benjamin Elon, Hillel Weiss, Daniel Dayan, Abraham Rabinovich, Dr. Jimmy DeYoung; ©2008|
|What nations are the key threats to Israel? What weapons do they have available, and what is their attitude toward Israel?|
Today on the John Ankerberg Show, from Jerusalem, we will be covering these issues. What is the number one threat to the existence of Israel today?
- Benjamin Netanyahu: I think we have to do everything in our power to prevent the arming of Iran with nuclear weapons. On this, I have to say, there is absolute unanimity in Israel.
- Moshe Arens: Nuclear capability in the hands of the Iranians is not only a threat against Israel, that’s a threat to the world.
Is Iran the only threat Israel is facing? What about Hamas in Gaza, and Hezbollah in Lebanon?
- Jimmy DeYoung: John, Iran is the major threat according to the Israeli intelligence community as far as the Jewish State of Israel is concerned. But it’s not the only threat in this neighborhood.
- Netanyahu: We’re being not only being told that we’ll be wiped off the face of the earth, but also that Iranian-backed proxies are establishing themselves at our doorsteps and rocketing our people.
- Gen. Jerry Boykin: I think it’s only a matter of time until there will be another attack out of south Lebanon, again supported by the Syrian, as well as the Iranians.
- Ankerberg: People want to know, what are the nations that are mentioned in the Bible, in prophecy that will have a role in the end-time scenario of what happens here in Israel?
- DeYoung: We are now seeing a list of Arab nations, with the exception of Russia, who will form this coalition to come against Israel in the last days.
But do military and political leaders really believe radical Islam poses a threat to Israel and other nations?
- Boykin: People say this is a war of ideas; no, this is just like every other war, it’s a war for terrain. And that terrain is the whole world. And radical Islam is a treat to the entire world. It is now the fastest growing religion.
- Netanyahu: Islam rejects any territorial or political solution. It wants the dissolution of the State of Israel. And this is the problem; this is the source of the problem. This is why it’s becoming so dangerous, because how can you negotiate with somebody who wants your destruction?
My guest today, and guide through Israel, is news correspondent Dr. Jimmy DeYoung, who has lived in Jerusalem since 1993. He as interviewed every Israeli Prime Minister over the last 15 years, as well as Jordan’s King Abdullah and the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. We invite you to join us for this special edition of the John Ankerberg Show.
- Ankerberg: Headlines across the world reported that the State of Israel sent more than 100 warplanes over the eastern Mediterranean on a training exercise to prepare for a long-distance strike against Iran. A U.S. military official said, “The distance involved was roughly the same as would be involved in a possible strike on the Iranian nuclear fuel plant at Natanz, in Iran.” In our interview with members of the Israeli government, we asked them to evaluate the threat from Iran and the nations surrounding Israel. First, Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu. He served as the Prime Minister of Israel from 1996-1999, was Israel’s Foreign Minister in 2003, and also served as Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations. He is a graduate of MIT and the man many believe will be the next Prime Minister of Israel as soon as elections are held. At a private briefing, here is what he told us about Iran.
- Netanyahu: The militant Sunnis have bombed New York, and have bombed Washington, and have bombed the other targets that al Qaeda has bombed from Bali to the European capitals. The militant Shiites in Iran are openly racing, and boasting that they are racing to develop nuclear weapons with the explicit announced goal of wiping Israel from the face of the earth, re-establishing the Caliphate, of course under militant Shiite Iranian rule. The Caliphate includes the territories from Iran to Spain. Developing long-range ballistic missiles first that are targeted to every European capital and within a decade to reach the eastern coast of the American mainland.
- Ankerberg: If you are somewhat surprised at the forceful words Mr. Netanyahu used, you will be amazed to learn that almost all of Israel’s leaders view Iran the same way. Mr. Moshe Arens was Ambassador to the United States, and served as Israel’s important Minister of Defense for three different administrations.
- DeYoung: Iran, according to the Israeli intelligence community, is the number one treat to the Jewish State of Israel. Would you agree with that assessment?
- Arens: Well, that’s correct. Because first of all Iran is the only state, unlike terrorist organizations, but the only state in the region, as a matter of fact the only state in the world, whose government, Prime Minister, President, I guess, Ahmadinejad, openly threatens Israel and says Israel has to be wiped off the map. So here you have a declared enemy. Now, Iran is not a miniscule state, and the Iranians are hell-bent on getting nuclear weapons. So when somebody is talking and working towards nuclear capability, and tells you that you need to be wiped off the face of the earth, it’s a real threat.
- Ankerberg: Turning to the military, we talked with Major General Jacob Amidror. He is the former Deputy Military Intelligence Chief for the Israeli Defense Force. In 1995, he was the one who visited American officials to convince them that Iran was a rising nuclear power and that action was required. The “smoking gun” surfaced when evidence was found on an Iranian laptop computer outlining Tehran’s nuclear activities. We asked him if he agreed with others that Iran is the major threat to Israel.
- Amidror: Yes. Today, no question that Iran is the main threat to the State of Israel. And there are some phases to this threat. First of all and the most important one and maybe the most dangerous one is the fact that Iran is going to be nuclear if it will not be stopped by others. And from the Iranian point of view it’s not that Israel is the only enemy, but it symbolizes the evil of the world. And no question nuclear Iran is a threat to the liberal democratic world and Israel symbolizing it in the Middle East. So we are under threat from Iran in this area.
- Ankerberg: Like our American Speaker of the House, in Israel Mr. Reuven Rivlin is member of the Likud party and has been the former Speaker of the Knesset.
- DeYoung: In this Knesset building there has been discussion about the possibility of a preemptive attack on Iran. Conversation has taken place between the United States and Israel about that such of an attack. Do you think that would happen, and could it happen, or does it need to happen?
- Mr. Reuven Rivlin: If no one will take and Israel will have to take on our own, we will have to consider and to evaluate what we have to do. And there are possibilities for Israel. But the Iran problem is not the problem of Israel, it is the problem of the free world. It is the problem of Europe and they have to realize it. I really believe that Iran should be take care by the entire family of nations, and not only by Israel. Israel have to take care and to know that once they will have to face the threat of being destroyed by possible nuclear weapon from the side of Iran, they will have to do and we know what we have to do.
- Ankerberg: Now, after talking with these political leaders, Jimmy and I discussed the biblical significance of what we were hearing.
- Ankerberg: Jimmy, we just got done talking with the former speaker of the Knesset, and we were asking him the question about Iran, Is it a real threat. And he said it is a real threat, and this body here is going to have to deal with it. It’s interesting, though, that this all ties in to biblical prophecy as well.
- DeYoung: It certainly does. Ezekiel 38:5 mentions Persia. And until 1936, Persia was the name of three countries that we know today as Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan. So Iran will be a major player in end time prophecy. And it is at that time that not only Iran, that’s only one of the players; but you’re talking about Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan. You’re talking about Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan. These nations, Saudi Arabia, led by Russia, will come into this region to try to destroy the Jewish state.
- Ankerberg: But is there widespread agreement on Iran? Benjamin Netanyahu spoke of the total unanimity that Israel’s government leader have concerning Iran’s threat.
- Netanyahu: I think we have to do everything in our power to prevent the arming of Iran with nuclear weapons. On this, I have to say, there is absolute unanimity in Israel. There’s no opposition, there is no coalition, not only on the declaratory level but on every other level. There are no party lines on this and there are no party divisions on this. And I cooperate with the Prime Minister and with everybody on this. I think this is a growing consensus. It wasn’t always the case. The clarity of this threat wasn’t always understood, but it is understood now and we have absolute unanimity on this. And, I can say that in some of the leading governments in the world right now, there is equally a growing consensus.
- Ankerberg: We also wanted to find out, how do some of our American military leaders assess the situation of Israel and Iran. American three-star General William G. Boykin is a veteran of the Army’s top-secret Delta Force. He has served as the Commanding General, U.S. Army Special Forces Command at Fort Bragg, NC; and the Commanding General at the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center. He was assigned to the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon as Chief Special Operations Division, and some time afterwards, he served at the CIA as Deputy Director of Special Activities. He was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General in 2003. Later he became Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence. He retired in 2007. I had the privilege of interviewing him and hearing his thoughts about Iran.
- Ankerberg: I want to talk about your experience as we evaluate the different countries of the world and the situation that we’re facing right now. First of all, here we are in Israel, and as we’ve talked to members of the Knesset and other academic people here, professors, people in the military, they all admit that Iran is their number one threat. From the American side, when you were in intelligence, how did you evaluate Iran, and actually, what are we facing right now? What is Israel facing?
- Boykin: Well, I agree with those Israelis that have told you they fear Iran as their number one threat. I think that it is. I think Iran is the number one threat probably to the whole world. A lot of people don’t take Ahmadinejad seriously. But all you have to do is study his background a little bit and you realize that this guy has been a zealot, a fanatic, since he was a very young child. He truly believes that it is his personal responsibility to usher in the Mahdi, or the Islamic messiah.
- And if you go back and look at some of the early writing, you will find that many, like Ahmadinejad believe that that has to occur in a period of chaos and bloodshed, for the Mahdi to return. Many of them also believe that the Caliphate has to be reestablished. Ahmadinejad believes that that is what he has been called by God to do, or by Allah, is to create that chaos and that bloodshed to bring the Mahdi to earth. Given that theology, combined with the fact that he began a number of years ago to develop a nuclear capability. And just yesterday he announced that he now has over 6,000 centrifuges, which is probably double what he needs for peaceful purposes. And the fact that he believes that if he could destroy Israel in obedience to Allah, even if it meant a retaliatory strike by the Israelis that killed millions of Iranians, he is very comfortable with that; because Jews and Israel are the infidels. And his people are all followers of Allah, they go to heaven.
- Ankerberg: Now, during this series we are considering five things: first, the nations today who want to destroy Israel; the nations the Bible predicts will come against Israel in the last days; third, the nations Israeli political leaders see as a threat to Israel; fourth, the nations Israeli and American military leaders believe are a threat to Israel; and fifth, the conclusions we should draw. In governments across the world the most important question currently being discussed is, when will Iran have enough enriched uranium to make a nuclear bomb? When we were with him, Mr. Netanyahu made this statement:
- Netanyahu: Our are intelligence chiefs have publicly said that it would take Iran three years to develop the critical knowledge to produce a weapon. Well, there are now about two years left; they haven’t changed, as far as I know, their assessment. So this a problem that we all face.
- Ankerberg: But as you will hear, Israel’s timetable of when Iran will develop a nuclear bomb has changed. The former head of the Mossad, Shabtai Shavit, said that Israel has just 12 months in which to destroy Iran’s nuclear program or risk coming under nuclear attack itself. He warned that time was running out to prevent Iran’s leaders getting the bomb.
- At the same time in the United States, a senior defense official reported to ABC News that there is an “increasing likelihood that Israel will target Iran’s nuclear installations by the end of 2008.” The reason? The Pentagon official identified two “red lines” that could trigger such an Israeli attack. The first being when Iran’s nuclear facility at Natanz produces enough highly enriched uranium to make a nuclear weapon – something that according to U.S. and Israeli assessments, could happen in 2009, and perhaps even by the end of 2008. “The red line would be crossed not when Iran gets to that point, but before they get to that point,” the official said. “So, we are now in the window of vulnerability.”
- He said that the second red line would be crossed when Iran acquires the SA-20 air defense missile systems from Russia. Israel would want to make their attack before they were in place, making their attack more difficult.
- Ankerberg: General, if the Europeans, and the European Union will not help in correcting the problem and they would not get involved in a strike against Iran, and America would not help Israel and really wants Israel to do its dirty work for the world, won’t Israel be forced into a corner and they will have to defend themselves?
- Boykin: John, that’s the same situation that Golda Meir faced at one time, when she had to strike the Egyptian air force, because she knew that the treat was imminent. They were going to attack Israel. And I think the leadership of Israel at some point is going to come to that same point with Iran if things don’t change between now and then. So, every country has the right of self-defense. Self-defense does not mean necessarily waiting until you’re attacked and then fighting back. And in Israel’s case, they may come to that point if nobody else is going to help them. They know that Ahmadinejad has already declared repeatedly that his objective is to destroy Israel, to wipe it off the face of the map, to use his words. I think Israel will come to the point where they’re going to have to make that decision even if no one else will help them.
- Ankerberg: As speculation in the world grows that Israel is contemplating airstrikes against Iran, General Mohammed Ali Jafari, the chief of Iran’s feared Revolutionary Guards responded by saying such a move might prompt a wave of Iranian retaliatory attacks against both Israeli and U.S. targets. He said, if Iran came under attack, it might hit the Jewish state with missiles and block the Gulf of Hormuz and stop gulf oil exports. He went on to say, Israel is completely within the range of the Islamic republic’s missiles. The strait between Iran and Oman is a vital conduit for energy supplies, with as much as 40 percent of the world’s crude passing through that point.
- Iran then took steps to retaliate against Israel by moving ballistic missiles into launch positions targeting various sites in Israel, including the Dimona nuclear plant where Israel’s own nuclear weapons are believed to be made. This prompted Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, Israel’s Minister for National Infrastructure, to warn that “Iran will be wiped off the face of the earth if it dares to fire any missile at us.”
- Shaul Mofaz, former Israeli Chief of Staff and Defense Minister, added, “Other options are disappearing. The sanctions are not effective. There will be no choice but to attack Iran to halt the Iranian nuclear program. Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will disappear before Israel does.”
- In light of all of this, what is the assessment from the leading intelligence agencies of the world? Benjamin Netanyahu explains:
- Netanyahu: We have our own view of what Iran is doing. I must tell you, I mean in all honesty, I think there is widespread agreement among the leading intelligence agencies of the world, of the western world, at least – I’m not sure if I would limit it to the western world – that Iran is developing, galloping to develop nuclear weapons. When Ahmadinejad – was it yesterday? – Ahmadinejad a few days ago went on a grand tour celebrating another 6,000 centrifuges. What is he developing? What does he have those centrifuges for? When they’re building ballistic missiles that have only one use – ballistic missiles, long-range missiles, have only one use. It’s not to carry cement, or medicine. It has only one use. When Iran has the second largest or third largest oil reserves in the world, you know that their energy problem is not uppermost in their minds, right?
- Ankerberg: And for those who are watching, the deadline for dealing with this crisis continues to be moved up. John Bolton, the former American ambassador to the United Nations, has predicted that Israel could attack Iran after the November presidential election but before George W. Bush’s successor is sworn in. Could this really happen?
- Netanyahu: My purpose here was to try to draw attention to the fact that if we do not act, time is not on our side. It’s on the other side.
- DeYoung: You know, John, in the background we hear the call to prayer, the Islamic call to prayer. Five times every day the Muslims must pray in order to be observant Muslims. And it reminds me of the threat that the Jewish people face. Because it is the Islamic world which is the lowest common denominator among the nations that are going to gather themselves against the Jewish people. The number one threat would be the Iranian threat. And that Iranian threat is not the only threat the Jewish people will have to face. They’ll have to face the nations that surround them, the Arab world: Syria, Egypt, Libya, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan. All of these nations will gather together to come against the Jewish state. And that call to prayer, that Islamic call to prayer, reminds me of the battles yet ahead for the Jewish people and the Jewish State of Israel.