Cairo crisis: The inside story (twice)


Two good countdowns of the events in Cairo over the weekend, when U.S. intervention helped save Israeli lives — and brought the Obama and Netanyahu administrations closer.

Here’s Judith Miller at Tablet Magazine, with an exclusive interview with the Israeli ambassador, Yitzhak Levanon — I like the detail about the schnitzel for Shabbos dinner.

“The phones were now ringing like crazy,” [Israeli Ambassador Yitzhak] Levanon recounted. “We knew that time was running out. The security officer called again to say that ‘They’ve broken into the embassy! They’ve broken into the embassy!’ The situation was now grave. I was scared to death for them. I kept calling everyone I could reach, screaming, begging them to do something to stop the ransacking of the embassy.”

And here’s Ben Smith at Politico, gettting the scoop from top Netanyahu aide Ron Dermer and Dan Shapiro, the U.S. envoy to Tel Aviv Israel*:

Senior State Department officials had spoken to Egyptian officials and been assured a rescue was on the way — but “there was a gap between the sense of urgency and the response time,” Netanyahu aide Ron Dermer told POLITICO. The Israeli leaders, watching the live video, narrated the frightening scene to Shapiro.

“What I was hearing from the [Israeli] Foreign Ministry was so alarming that I basically said, ‘We’ve got to raise this to the top level – we need a call to [Egyptian leader Mohamed Hussein] Tantawi now,’” [Shapiro] said.

Shapiro helped jostle the U.S. government into an all-hands-on-deck response that officials in both countries credit with saving the lives of six Israeli guards trapped in an embassy safe room.

*Whoops. This designation, as a reader pointed out, is still a matter of some controversy.

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