The Beginning of the End: The Alignment of the Nations Against Israel/Program 3
|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|
|Ezekiel 38 predicts certain nations will come against Israel in the future. What are those nations, and what threat are they to modern-day 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: Around the world fears of a possible Israeli military attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities are growing. People are fearful of the consequences that could occur. If Iran launches a counterattack on Israel and the supply of oil in the Middle East, it will affect the whole world. Many are asking, didn’t the prophet Ezekiel predict a future war with Israel and the nations in the Middle East? Are any of those nations the same ones making threats against Israel today? So, first, we will outline what Ezekiel says. Then we will talk with military leaders in Israel today. As we sat on the Mount of Olives, overlooking the Temple Mount, I asked Jimmy DeYoung to lay out the specific nations that God revealed will come against Israel in the last days.
- DeYoung: Here in the book of Ezekiel 38, which will be the main focus in Bible prophecy, other sections of the Bible we will look at, but in Ezekiel 38 it talks here in verse 2 about Magog, Gog in the land of Magog. Now, Gog would be the person, Magog would be the particular state that it’s talking about. And according to biblical geography, Magog would have been that land mass north of the Caspian and Black Sea, which is Russia today.
- Then in verse 2 it says, Meshech and Tubal, and down in verse 6 it says Gomer and Togarmah. When travelling in Turkey recently I picked up an ancient Turkish map. And in biblical times Turkey was actually divided into four parts, Meshech, Tubal, Gomer and Togarmah. So we are now talking about Russia and Turkey.
- There in verse 5 it says Persia. Until 1936 there were three nations we know today that were known as Persia. Those three nations are Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran. And then you continue on in verse 5, Ethiopia, or Cush in some translations. That would be Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan. And then in verse 5 again it says here in my Bible Libya, or maybe in another translation Put. Well, that’s modern day Libya, Colonel Qaddafi.
- You have to coordinate this with Daniel 11. Verses 40-45 talk about the King of the North. Earlier in chapter 11 you find out that is what we know as Syria today. And the King of the South would be Egypt today. And then going over into the book of Psalms, and it talks in Psalm 83 about a list of nations. It mentions here the Ishmaelites; well, that’s modern day Saudi Arabia. And then in verse 5 it talks about Tyre; that’s modern day Lebanon. So 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.
- Ankerberg: Alright, the principle that you’re using is that when the prophet saw geographical areas in his own day he had to mention those names as being the people from those geographical areas that would be coming against Israel in the future.
- DeYoung: John, that is a hermeneutical principle when you look at biblical geography. Who was the author writing about? Who was King David writing about when he wrote the Psalm? Who was Ezekiel writing about when he wrote Ezekiel 38? Who was Daniel writing about when he wrote Daniel 11? They were taking about specific states or nations that were in existence at that time. We don’t look at a nation today, we go by what God’s word says. So if he is going to talk about a prophecy we have to be specific about the locations as well.
- Ankerberg: After hearing what Ezekiel says, do we see events shaping up in a similar way? We visited with Israel’s political and military leaders to hear about the threats they are facing from nations in the Middle East. Former Prime Minister of Israel, Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu, plainly talked about the threats Israel is currently facing from Iran, Syria, Lebanon, and the Palestinians, some of the very same nations Ezekiel wrote about. Here is what he believes is taking place in the world.
- Netanyahu: If you look at what has happened politically, not economically, to the world, but what has happened politically to the world, what has happened in terms of politics and security in the decades that have passed since, you see a clear trajectory of the rise of militant Islam. You see it not only taking over countries, which it has, but also extending its sway over many people in a very large continuum of Muslims.
- Obviously there are two strains in this dogma, the militant Sunnis and the militant Shiites, one, burst out in Iran. The militant Shiites in ‘79 and a decade later, the victory of the Mujahedin heralded the rise of al Qaeda.
- Obviously they haven’t been able to take over the majority, and even the minority is small, but the minority of a very, very large majority is troubling in itself. But, their goals are unlimited. Whatever their successes so far, they don’t intend to stop. They continue. They’ve been competing with each other, each of these militant strains: who will produce the greater spectacular, the more spectacular successes for the creed.
- 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 capitols. The militant Shiites in Iran are openly racing, 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.
- And in the process, they’ve rolled over, from Iran, they’ve rolled over, they’re clearly meddling in Iran, the congressional testimony last week described this. They have already more than meddled in Lebanon. Hezbollah there now; it used to be said Hezbollah is a state within a state, it’s not clear that has not been reversed, given that Hezbollah has now some 40,000 rockets, which is a lot more than they had before the second Lebanon War. There are much more lethal rockets, long-range rockets that can reach a good portion of this country. And, this is all done by Iran. It cannot be understood as anything but an Iranian operation. And equally, there is this continuing effort to… they’ve already taken over its proxies. They’ve already taken over half of Palestinian society, they’ve taken over Gaza, and they’re agitating to take more. So, this is not merely a local problem, this is a global problem. Obviously, if Iran acquires nuclear weapons, everything that we’ve been talking about will pale in comparison.
- Ankerberg: Next we visited with Maj. Gen. Jacob Amidror, the former Deputy Military Intelligence Chief for the Israeli Defense Force. In 1995, he visited American officials to try and convince them that Iran was a rising nuclear power and that action was required. When we visited him in his office, he told us that today Israel is facing a four-pronged attack coming from Iran, Syria, Lebanon, and the Palestinians.
- Amidror: 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.
- The other phase is connected to the fact that Iran is ready to invest a lot of money, a lot of efforts, even to risk its people by sending them to build Hezbollah in the north and Hamas in the south. And these are two extensions of Iran around Israel, one in Gaza Strip and one in Lebanon. And together under the umbrella of nuclear Iran, it will be easier for both the Iranian extension in Lebanon and the Iranian extension in Gaza to act against the State of Israel.
- The third phase of this threat is the relation between Syria and Iran. The Iranians helping the Syrians to build their military forces, helping them by money, by having very good relation in the R & D area, mainly of rockets and so on. 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: Another Israeli leader that we interviewed was Mr. Moshe Arens who held one of the most stressful and important offices in the entire Middle East. For three different administrations he was the Minister of Defense for the State of Israel. We asked him three questions: How did he assess the threat from Iran? When did he think Iran would have a nuclear bomb? And would Israel take action against Iran before this year was over?
- DeYoung: As Defense Minister for the State of Israel, you have the responsibility of protecting the people of Israel from enemies in the north, in the east and the south. Could we just rehearse maybe some of your thoughts about some of those enemies? Iran, according to the Israeli intelligence community, is the number one threat to the Jewish State of Israel. Would you agree with that assessment?
- Arens: 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, you’ve got a real threat.
- DeYoung: Do you believe that Israel should make a move against Iran before they become nuclear capable?
- Arens: Well, as has been so frequently said by Israeli spokesmen, our Prime Minister as well, and also by President Bush in the United States, nuclear capability in the hands of the Iranians is not only a threat against Israel, that’s a threat to the world. And so we are hoping that the world, or the community of nations led by the United States, will take appropriate measures whether it’s economic sanctions or maybe some other things as well to make sure that they never reach a nuclear capability, because that would be a bad thing, not just for Israel.
- DeYoung: The statement’s been made by some of the Israeli leadership and some of the intelligence community, that the year 2008 would be the year that they could achieve their goal of a nuclear weapon of mass destruction, and thus something must be done. Would Israel, in your opinion, make a move to try to either delay the development of that weapon or try to eliminate it altogether?
- Arens: Well, 2008 is right now. And I think that those estimates probably are a little overly pessimistic. I don’t believe that they’re going to reach that capability in 2008. But the horizon for reaching that capability at the rate they’re going is not infinite. It’s not far off. Just what Israel would do or should do, I don’t think it would be appropriate for me to talk about that in public. That’s something that needs to be discussed and decided at the appropriate level and by the people who carry the direct responsibility for Israel’s security today. And I did that in the past, but I don’t carry that responsibility today.
- Ankerberg: We also wanted to find out, how do some of our American military leaders assess the situation in the Middle East? 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 Central Intelligence Agency 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 asked him for his military assessment of different nations in the Middle East.
- 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, 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.
- Ankerberg: How would you evaluate what they are doing via proxy groups? And who are they connected with? Who are they supporting?
- Boykin: Iran has clearly established linkages to Hezbollah. I think that what you will find is the summer of 2006, I don’t think there’s any question, not in my mind at least, that Iran orchestrated the two-front attack on Israel. Iran supported both Hamas and Hezbollah. Iran is arming Hezbollah in south Lebanon. Iran even paid the families of people in Lebanon who lost family members during the 2006 conflict there. So Iran is very tied to the terrorist groups there.
- Ankerberg: How would you analyze what’s going on in Syria, and where do they rank militarily?
- Boykin: Well, the Syrians, they have a capable military. It’s certainly not as strong as Iran. They have a capable military, but Syria has continued to give safe haven and support to Hezbollah. I also think that Assad, the president of Syria, has continued his father’s desire to have the Golan Heights back. That was lost to the Israelis. It has become a personal thing with Assad, and I think he wants the Golan back. And that will always be problematic in terms of a reason for Syria to attack Israel.
- Ankerberg: NATO’s got a base in Turkey, and we’ve been close friends with Turkey, and they’ve applied for membership in the EU, the European Union. At the same time, the EU has kind of backed away from that. And there’s another faction that’s coming up in Turkey. How do you evaluate them and the importance of Turkey to the Middle East?
- Boykin: Well, I think Turkey is strategic and I think this is one of the really difficult issues for NATO. Because on the one hand we have a NATO alliance and Turkey has always been a member of that. On the other hand we have the European Union arising; and countries like Germany have refused to allow Turkey to join the European Union. The fear is that that is then driving them towards the Islamic camp to where they become, rather than the secular state that they have been for decades, they become an Islamic Republic, which would fracture NATO, which would create another problem in the Middle East, and probably throw the balance of power in the Middle East way out of kilter.
- Ankerberg: Former president Putin of Russia has been involved in many of these countries, Sudan, with Iran, with Syria, with others. What’s his activity all about?
- Boykin: That’s a good question. You know, I think that what we’re going to see is we’re going to see the next czar in Russia. I mean, many experts would tell you he is the most powerful ruler of Russia in the last 100 years. What are his objectives? Well, I think they’re multiple. Number one, I think that he needs warm water ports. He needs to move the large reserves of oil. He needs pipelines. And he needs allies in the Middle East and the Gulf. And I think that’s what he’s working towards.
- Ankerberg: Part of your official job was to analyze counterterrorism. In other words, how do we counter some of the stuff that we see going on in the world. How in the world can we protect against the supply of oil being cut off from the Middle East. What kind of crisis are we looking at?
- Boykin: Very soon we will importing about 60 percent of our oil requirements. And then you look at the Gulf and the fact that that’s 58-60 percent of the known reserves in the world today. And we’re dependent upon that. I think we have a huge problem. Now, the Gulf countries have continued that supply of oil. But the fact of the matter is, they could cut it off. Or they could jack the prices up so high that it would destroy our economy.
- Ankerberg: But oil isn’t the only problem the world faces. Benjamin Netanyahu talks about the real possibility of Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon in the next 24 months, the downfall of governments in the Middle East, and the resulting power to inspire Islamic radicals around the world.
- Netanyahu: This is not merely a local problem, this is a global problem. Obviously, if Iran acquires nuclear weapons, everything that we’ve been talking about will pale in comparison. Because the power to extend power, to threaten, to realize the threats, to make good on the threats, would be on a level that we have not seen, nor one that we can readily imagine. It will put the oil reserves of the Gulf under their sway. They could easily bring down governments or fold them into their realm. They will inspire and encourage the radicals in the various Islamic communities that they’re targeting around the world and they will, in turn, be inspired by the fact that, obviously, the acquisition of nuclear weapons is a providential sign of the coming victory of the true believers. And, of course, they might make good on their twisted ideas of ending Zionism and extending their realm by other means. So this is threat to the entire world, and it cannot be seen as anything but that.