Nightly News   |  March 20, 2013

Israel, surrounded by violence, seals off borders

The renewed war in Iraq combined with Hamas’ rise in Gaza, the Muslim Brotherhood running Egypt and the conflict in Syria, the region surrounding Israel is in turmoil. In response, Israel is erecting a 150-mile fence along the border with Egypt and another one along the Syrian border. NBC’s Richard Engel reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> i'm richard engel . israel sees the world just beyond its borders collapsing. the war in syria, the renewed war in iraq . hamas in charge in gaza with new rockets that can reach tel aviv . the muslim brotherhood running egypt . israel hasn't ever been popular in this neighborhood. now its enemies are at the gate and angry. the arab spring uprising has become a threat to israel . it is sealing off its borders. in the sinai mountains, 150-mile fence is going up along the border with egypt . 20 feet high, thermal cameras, razor wire. when it's finished it will run all along israel 's border with egypt . israel is quite physically walling itself off from a neighbor it's had a peace deal with for three decades. israel still has a peace treaty with egypt , its biggest arab neighbor, but it is not taking any chances.

>> this is the fence itself.

>> reporter: made of what? steel?

>> exactly. you can see way above it's like knives.

>> reporter: very hard to climb. you couldn't grip on it. in northern israel another fence is going up along the syrian border. it's not far from the saroker family home.

>> we know the whole thing is going to explode in our face. it looks like it's going to be soon.

>> reporter: israel is becoming a fortress. fences along the borders with egypt , lebanon and syria. more fences around the gaza strip and a massive wall along the west bank . a country the size of new jersey with more than 500 miles of barricades. israel is shutting out the arab world and shutting itself in. the president had one main message for the israeli people . the united states is with you in these uncertain times. it's the same message the president will now deliver to other increasingly nervous american allies in the west bank and jordan. brian?

>> richard engel for us tonight. chuck todd starting us off.