Netanyahu in Germany amid tensions at home, Iran worries

Netanyahu has threatened military action against Iran’s nuclear program as it enriches uranium closer to weapons-grade levels.

By Associated Press and World Israel News Staff

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is meeting Germany’s leaders Thursday on an abbreviated visit that comes in the shadow of tensions over his government’s planned overhaul of Israel’s judicial system and worries about Iran’s nuclear program.

Netanyahu had scheduled meetings with Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Germany’s largely ceremonial president, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, on his one-day trip to Berlin.

Netanyahu and Scholz attended a commemoration ceremony for victims of the Holocaust at Platform 17 Memorial in Berlin, together with Holocaust survivor Franz Michalski, German Jewish community representatives and members of the delegation.

The ceremony began with a minute of silence, the laying of wreaths and the lighting of memorial candles by the prime minister and the cChancellor. Chabad Rabbi Yehuda Teichtal recited the Kaddish prayer in memory of the six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust.

“Less than 80 years ago, six weeks before the end of the war, when Berlin was already in ruin, the Nazis sent the last shipment of Jews to be exterminated. Our world has changed. Germany has changed. The Jewish state was reborn.

But we know that the calls for the annihilation of our people have not stopped. The main lesson we have learned is that when you are faced with such evil, you have to obstruct its evil designs early on, to prevent catastrophe,” Netanyahu stated.

“We are now faced with other calls for the destruction of the Jewish state and millions of Jews,” he continued. We have learned that the Jewish people must have the capacity to defend ourselves, by ourselves against any threat.

“But we also welcome the friendship of those who share our concern, our values and our desire to prevent these rogue regimes and these crazy ideologies from destroying our world,” he added. “It is a trusted alliance, and one that I think is expressed in our standing here today.

The ceremony concluded with the singing of Hatikvah, Israel’s national anthem.

The prime minister’s office has said he cut the length of his visit in half because of the security situation in Israel. He delayed his departure from Israel on Wednesday as the country’s figurehead president prepared to unveil a compromise proposal for overhauling the legal system, an approach that Netanyahu rejected.

German officials have voiced concern about the Israeli government’s plan, which would allow parliament to overturn Supreme Court decisions and give Netanyahu’s parliamentary coalition the final say over all judicial appointments.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said when her Israeli counterpart visited last month that “the protection of principles of the rule of law such as judicial independence … was always a hallmark of Israel.”

Protests against the overhaul are planned in Berlin, though not near Netanyahu, whose visit is taking place under the customary heavy security.

Germany and Israel, which traditionally are close allies, share concerns about Iran’s nuclear activities. Netanyahu has threatened military action against Iran’s nuclear program as it enriches uranium closer to weapons-grade levels.

Germany is one of the world powers that entered a tattered 2015 deal with Tehran to address concern about its nuclear ambitions. Baerbock has stressed the importance of “preventing a nuclear escalation by Iran by diplomatic means, because every alternative would be disastrous.”

The post Netanyahu in Germany amid tensions at home, Iran worries appeared first on World Israel News.

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