Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to head to Egypt for a state visit in the coming days, at the request of Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, officials in Cairo have confirmed to Israel Hayom. The official visit will be the first by an Israeli prime minister to the country in over 10 years.
Netanyahu is expected to discuss a series of regional issues with the Egyptian leader, chief among them bolstering security and diplomatic ties in light of the Iranian threat and coordinating positions between Jerusalem and Cairo ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s entry into the White House.
The circumstances are akin to King Hezekiah who famously made a pact with Egypt as a united front against King Sennacherib’s imminent assault from Assyria. King Hezekiah was chastized by Rabshakeh in the book of Kings:
So how could you refuse anything even to the deputy of one of my master’s lesser servants, relying on Egypt for chariots and horsemen? (Kings 2 18:21)
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Like Iran, Assyria is situated to the north-east of Israel.
The Egyptian officials said the government was concerned that a Biden administration would be hostile to Cairo and that it would sign onto a new nuclear deal with Iran that would undermine regional stability. The officials further said that Cairo placed great importance on the Abraham Accords as well as the regional alliance being forged between Israel and other moderate Sunni Arab states and Sudan.
A senior Egyptian Foreign Ministry official told Israel Hayom that should the Egyptian and Israeli leaders meet, the expectation was that Netanyahu would receive an official state welcome.
“If Netanyahu’s planned visit to Egypt does take place, President el-Sissi will greet him at the airport with Egyptian and Israeli flags waving alongside one another,” he said.
According to the officials, the two leaders were set to meet in either Cairo or Sharm el-Sheikh.