Photo Credit: GPO / Flash 90
Prime Minister Netanyahu monitors rescue of Israel's diplomatic staff from an Egyptian mob, September 10, 2011

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revealed Tuesday that only the threat of Israel sending its own commandos to rescue its embassy staff in Cairo moved then-President Mohammed Morsi to send Egyptian forces to save them.

Speaking at a Foreign Ministry ceremony to commemorate Israeli diplomats killed abroad in the line of duty, Netanyahu recalled the night when a mob of Egyptians rampaged unchecked through Israel’s embassy offices.


The six remaining security guards at the time were holed up in a safe room behind a sturdy metal door, on the phone with Prime Minister Netanyahu that night in September 2011. “Yoni, the State of Israel will get you out of there,” the prime minister told the head of security on the phone at the time.

But Israel never publicly revealed its own intervention in the matter, instead giving the credit – and the subsequent kudos on television – to U.S. President Barack Obama.

On Tuesday, the facade came to an end and for the first time, Netanyahu revealed that it was through the threat of sending Israeli commandos the Muslim Brotherhood-backed Egyptian president was persuaded to send in his own crack troops to resolve the problem.

“A mob came to slaughter our people, and we used all the tools at our disposal that night, including the threat of rescue operation by the IDF, which finally tipped the balance and led the Egyptian forces — then under the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood, together with careful coordination from here — that ultimately led to the successful conclusion of this event,” Netanyahu told Foreign Ministry staff.

He acknowledged that the service is no picnic for its staff, noting that 16 foreign service officers have been killed abroad since 1948.

“Our representatives are there to deflect political and propaganda attacks, and precisely because of this they are liable to turn into targets for physical attacks,” he said.

Netanyahu is currently serving both as prime minister and as foreign minister in Israel. He also served as foreign minister from 2002 to 2003 under then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, and from 2012 to 2013. He served as Israeli ambassador to the United Nations between 1984 and 1988, and as deputy chief of mission at the Israeli Embassy in Washington DC from 1982 to 1984.

Update: Defusing a potential international crisis, the Prime Minister’s office has issued a clarification stating that Israel’s intention at the time was to run a “coordinated” operation with the Egyptian army, and not to take unilateral action. The Prime Minister thanked the Egyptian army for handling the matter responsibly leading to a resolution to the problem.



  1. You are correct. It was 9 months later that Morsi was elected. But the point is that PM Netanyahu threatened to send Israeli Commandos to rescue the Israeli Embassy Staff. That was enough to make Egypt do the right thing! Hiliary or Obama didn't do squat for the Americans in Bengazi. 4 brave men died, the Ambassador died a slow painful death in the hands of these murderers! Obama has no guts! Just his "boyhood grin" & being black got him elected. Hillary belongs in jail!

  2. U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and Meir's relationship was to say the least a bit rocky. When assistance was requested from him, Kissinger's reported response was to let Israel 'bleed a little.' So, at 3 a.m. Golda Meir picked up the phone and called President Richard M. Nison and asked for help. It is reported that Nixon heard the prophetic word and the voice of his mother as he listened to Meir. By the time she hung up, Golda Meir had the weapons help her country needed that swung the pendulum to Israel's favor and to bring an end to the Yom Kippur War. America's resupply included 815 total sorties, bringing Israel 56 combat aircraft and 27,900 tons of munitions and supplies.

    Nixon knew that the only way to end the crisis and push out the Communist influence was to provide American arms to the Israelis in order to defeat Russian arms in the hands of the Syrians and Egyptians. Both Secretary of State Kissinger and President Nixon wanted to conduct the airlift, but according to the CIA director, "Nixon gave it the greater sense of urgency. He said. 'You get the stuff to Israel. Now. Now.'"

    To this day, Richard Nixon is highly regarded in Israel. Prime Minister Golda Meir and Nixon kept in frequent touch throughout the ordeal. For the rest of Meir's life, she referred to Nixon as "my president," and said, "For generations to come, all will be told of the miracle of the immense planes from the United States bringing in the material that meant life to our people."

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