How can Israel deal with the rising threat of ISIS in the Sinai Peninsula, along its southern border?
Middle East expert Prof. Hillel Frisch of the Begin-Sadat Center doesn't rule out possibility that Israel will help Egypt deal with ISIS, by delivering air strikes.
“We can only do what the Egyptians ask us to do. If [ISIS forces] gain strength as they have been, and the Egyptians ask for our help – especially aerial help – I'm sure that the Israeli Air Force will be more than willing and forthcoming to meet that challenge.”
Frisch said that Israel has an interest in the defeat of ISIS in Sinai, since it poses a threat to tourism in Eilat and to some points along Israel's border. On the other hand, Israel will have a problem letting large Egyptian ground forces into the peninsula, because Sinai needs to remain a buffer zone between itself and Egypt, as stipulated by the peace treaty with Egypt.
The professor said that in a Machiavellian sense, Israel gains from Egypt's problems with ISIS, since as long as these occupy Egypt's attention, Egypt is not as hostile toward Israel on matters like the Palestinian issue or the nuclear issue.