In an interview published on the religious website beliefnet, Michael D. Evans, a Christian-Zionist writer and activist, recounts a prophetic dinner conversation he had in 1979, with the then former head of Mossad, Isser Harel . Harel told him that terrorists would eventually attack New York City's tallest building. Why? Harel's explanation, according to Evans, was that America's alliance with Saudi Arabia would develop a tolerance for terror among Americans, and this tolerance would lead Islamic terrorists to strike America. Why the tallest building in New York City? Again according to Michael Evans, Harel said that the phallic symbol is very important in Islamic theology, and New York is America's biggest phallic symbol, and so the tallest building in New York City would be their target.1 *
The contrast between the accuracy of Harel's prediction, and the seeming inadequacy of the information he appeared to use in making the prediction is at least striking. Any act of terror, especially one that causes loss of life, and possibly the loss of the life of the perpetrator, is a visceral and passionate act. A process that leads from the multiplicity of mundane connections, commericial, political, and military, between the United States and Saudi Arabia that existed in 1979, to an Islamic terrorist group attacking any American target, phallic or not, seems improbable. Added to that the difficulty of successfully attacking any skyscraper - a project requiring many people, imaginative tactics, and significant resources - and the likelihood decreases spectacularly. Yet, however unlikely the process described by Harel, the end result of the prediction is obviously accurate.
Even more improbably, fifteen of the nineteen hijackers were Saudis, almost as though fate itself were determined to be in awkward harmony with Harel's reasoning, although not actually confirming it, to make Saudi Arabia a focus of American doubts about the Islamic world.
One possibility, that explains both the improbability of the process described by Harel, and the accuracy of his prediction, is that the Israeli government's antipathy for the U.S.-Saudi alliance was so great that they decided they needed to drive a wedge between the United States and the Islamic world. In this scenario, the path they chose was to either recruit or coopt a network of Arabs (preferably Saudis) via false-flag recruitment, train them, control them, and eventually direct them to attack.
If 9/11 was planned in Israel, then Harel's strange explanation makes sense - it would then just be Harel's attempt to brand the future event as an Islamic act, and brand it as an act in which Saudi Arabia plays a central role. The disconnection between the accuracy of Harel's prediction, and the dubious reasoning Michael Evans says he used, must be circumstantial evidence for that possibility. It's not hard to picture Harel, who knew Michael Evans venerated Israel, not bothering to invent a good explanation for his prediction. And there may not have existed a good explanation for that prediction.
1 "Is America in Bible Prophesy?," Beliefnet, accessed May 29, 2016, http://www.beliefnet.com/faiths/christianity/end-times/is-america-in-bible-prophecy.aspx
In the late 1970's Saudi Arabia's financial power was growing, and its political power was keeping pace. Saudi Arabia also found that it could use the oil market as a political tool - turning the oil tap one way or another to gain concessions from the West. Getting right in Israel's kitchen, Saudi leaders supported the PLO, and exerted pressure on Washington to find a way to create an autonomous Palestinian state.
In 1978, Saudi Arabia moved into first place, passing Iran, as the largest buyer of military hardware from the United States, spending an estimated $4.9 billion on arms, technical aid, and the construction of naval ports and airports. In the same year, the United States spent about $6.4 billion on Saudi oil.1 A 1978 Los Angeles Times article said that Saudi Arabia was like a fifty-first state, with over 300 American firms, and some 30,000 American workers, building whole cities, managing its national airline, and training its military.2
Another 1978 LA Times article describes the "Arab Lobby" as achieving "near parity" with Israel's formidable lobby, creating a network of American supporters and contacts.3
In August 1979, a New York Times editorial openly suspected Saudi Arabia of blackmailing the Carter Administration regarding Palestinian autonomy, observing that the Saudi promise of an extra million barrels of oil a day was quickly followed by the insistence of "high Administration officials" that there was a need for quick progress on the issue, if the West wasn't to face new pressures on its oil supply. (The same editorial described President Carter's comparison of Palestinian nationalism to the American civil rights movement as "inane.")4
Meanwhile, sparks often flew between Israel and the Carter Administration. Israel was being pressured by the U.S. to give the Sinai back to Egypt and stop settlements in the West Bank, while Israel seemed to be losing its status as the "only" American friend in the Middle East.
In March of 1978, talks between the Carter Administration and the government of Menachem Begin were described by a Carter national security advisor as "pretty grim." Carter wanted the creation of Israeli settlements in the occupied territories to stop, while Begin said that Israel would create more settlements on the West Bank. Carter argued that the United Nations resolution 242, calling for Israeli withdrawal from territories occupied during the 1967 war, implied that Israel should at least partially withdraw from the West Bank, while Begin claimed that resolution 242 didn't apply to the West Bank.5
In late 1978, a Christian Science Monitor editorial described Israeli and American interests as "divergent." Amercans wanted friendly relations with the Arab world, to both keep a steady flow of oil, and keep the Soviet Union, at the time America's number one adversary, out of the Middle East. This could be achieved by a just peace between Israel and the Palestinians. The Israelis claimed that the United States was no longer an honest broker between Egypt and Israel in the Camp David peace process, and was siding with Egypt. Carter continued to ask for Israeli withdrawal from the occupied territories, and an Israeli spokesman said that the Carter Administration resorted to "brutal pressure," to change Begin's mind. (The editorial writer suspected that "brutal pressure" meant a reduction or delay in Israel's annual subsidy.)6
1 United Press International, "Saudi Arabia Is Biggest Client the U.S. Has for Arms Trading," The Washington Post, August 27, 1978, A9, ProQuest Historical Newspapers
2 Joe Alex Morris Jr., "Americans Everywhere in Saudi Arabia," The Los Angeles Times, February 7, 1978, B20, ProQuest Historical Newspapers
3 Norman Kempster and Ronald J. Ostrow, "Arab Lobby Balances Mideast Scales," The Los Angeles Times, November 23, 1978, OC1, ProQuest Historical Newpapers
4 "The Issue is Blackmail," The New York Times, August 5, 1979, E20, ProQuest Historical Newspapers
5 Terrence Smith, "Talks Called 'Grim'," The New York Times, March 23, 1978, 23, ProQuest Historical Newspapers
6 Joseph C. Harsch, "Israel and the United States," The Christian Science Monitor, December 28, 1978, 23, ProQuest Historical Newspapers
In the late Spring of 1978, the Carter Administration went head to head with the Israel Lobby, and astonishingly, Carter won. Carter linked the sale of F-15 fighter-bombers to Egypt and Saudi Arabia, with the sale of F-15 and F-16s to Israel in one package. Those who supported the package thought that Saudi Arabia had become an important ally, that its moderation in regard to the Arab-Israeli conflict should be encouraged, and that a refusal to sell them the F-15s would be seen by the Saudis as an insult. Those who opposed it, Israel and many of its supporters, saw it as a threat to Israel's security, and a change in the special relationship between Israel and the United States. The bill passed the Senate 54-44 on the evening of May 15th.1
It caused what some believed to be the widest rift in years between the US and Israel. Moshe Dayan, Israel's Foreign Minister, had said that the F-15s would pose a serious threat to Israel's security.2 Menachem Begin, Israel's Prime Minister, commented that Israel didn't like being "lumped" in with anyone, and moreover saw Saudi Arabia as a possible belligerant. Many of Israel's supporters and many in the Israeli government thought what was at stake was Israel's status as the unique American ally in the Middle East. Mark Siegel, a Deputy Assistant to President Carter and a liaison to the Jewish community, resigned over the issue, and said that some high officials in the Carter Administration believed that "the Israeli government will never feel it has to negotiate unless American Jewry is somehow broken, that its power is at least diminished." To the Saudis, the vote was a litmus test of American reliability: they had been promised their choice of American fighter by President Ford and Henry Kissinger in 1976.3
The debate in the Senate, both formal and informal, was often emotional. Senator Jacob Javits of New York said, "I think the president set out to teach the Israelis a lesson...What are you going to do?...Sap their morale? Cut their legs out from under them? That's the issue." Senator Mike Gravel of Alaska complained about the tactics of Israel's supporters in a speech: "I think this will be a watershed year of Jewish influence in this country...when you deliver an ultimatum once you cannot deliver it twice or three times. When you are told 'This is it,' then you have to live with that situation." Senator George McGovern of South Dakota pointed out that Israel's supporters were approaching "the point where America loses its capacity to influence the Arab leadership."4
1 Robert G. Kaiser, "Senate Approves Mideast Jet Sales, 54-44,", Washington Post , May 16, 1978, A1, ProQuest Historical Newspapers
2 Graham Hovey, "Carter and Vance Confer With Dayan; Rift Is Played Down,", The New York Times , February 17, 1978, 17, ProQuest Historical Newspapers
3 Geoffrey Godsell, "U.S.-Saudi fighter deal: stakes high for all,", The Christian Science Monitor , April 10, 1978, 17, ProQuest Historical Newspapers
4 Kaiser, Washington Post
Michael D Evans is a writer, evangelist, and self-avowed Christian-Zionist. His very existence is unlikely: the offspring of a Jewish mother, who didn't like Christians, and an anti-semitic and abusive Christian father.1 He is the founder of The Jerusalem Prayer Team. The Jerusalem Prayer Team isn't any ordinary team, or even any ordinary prayer team, but has a mission to defend the Jewish people until the Second Coming. Evans believes it's God's will that Israel absorb the West Bank and Gaza, and that America is accomodating the Arab world in exchange for oil.2
He developed contacts with Israel's elite through his friend Reuben Hecht, a senior advisor to Menachem Begin. Evans was introduced to Begin by Hecht, and told him that he wanted to build a bridge between American Christians and Israel. Begin embraced the idea. It was also through Reuben Hecht, that Evans met Isser Harel.3
I looked through Michael Evans' book, The American Prophesies , but never seriously considered reading it all the way through. The following is a list of what might or might not be salient points:
Zebulun shall dwell at the haven of the sea; and he shall be for an haven of ships; and his border shall be unto Zidon. Isachar is a strong ass couching down between two burdens.He believes these two verses partially define both Israel and the United States.4
What was Isser Harel's mindset as he talked with Evans? It's certainly plausible that Harel sized him up as one of the people you can fool all of the time, and if he did, he could have been right.
1 Daniel K. Eisenbud, "The Bridge Builder,", The Jerusalem Post , June 14, 2012, http://www.jpost.com/Magazine/Features/The-bridge-builder
2 "Is America in Bible Prophesy?," Beliefnet, accessed May 29, 2016, http://www.beliefnet.com/faiths/christianity/end-times/is-america-in-bible-prophecy.aspx
4 Michael D. Evans, The American Prophesies (New York: Warner Faith, 2004), 182
5 Evans, 22
6 Evans, 27
7 Evans, 29
8 Evans, 169