image Photo: Haim Zach (GPO)

Netanyahu meets with German leaders

The primary focus of the Israeli leader’s discussions centered on threats posed by a nuclear Iran.

By Erin Viner

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz held talks at the latter’s office in Berlin, that were also attended on the Israeli side by the Premier’s Chief of Staff Tzachi Braverman, National Security Council Director Tzachi Hanegbi and Israeli Ambassador to Germany Ron Prosor.

The two leaders also held a memorial ceremony for victims of the Holocaust at the notorious train Platform 17 in the German capital – from which the Nazis sent the last shipment of Jews to be exterminated in concentration camps just six weeks before the end of World War Two.

“We both stand here representing the new Germany and the reborn Jewish State,” said Prime Minister Netanyahu, “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. When you have such a fanatic ideology, that seeks to destroy the Jewish people completely, erase them from the face of the earth… We had no defense at the time.”

Stressing, “Today there is a fanatical regime that seeks to erase the one and only Jewish state, with over six million Jews in it from the face of the earth,” Netanyahu underscored, “We have a defense and Israel will do what we have to do to defend ourselves.”

He then vowed, “The Jewish people will not allow a second Holocaust. The Jewish State will do everything necessary to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. Period.”

Going on to say, “Israel welcomes 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,” Netanyahu expressed gratitude for his “productive discussion” with Chancellor Scholz that “further reinforced our nations’ strong and enduring friendship” and “trusted alliance,” reflecting Germany’s commitment to Israel’s security, as well as its strong stance against antisemitism, which he said is an issue that should concern not only the Jewish State but the entire civilized world.

“Now, to create this better future for our peoples, we must stand together in confronting common dangers, and no danger is greater and of greater concern to Israel than Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons. We discussed together how Israel and Germany can work together to thwart that pursuit. This was a main topic of our discussion, because Iran is a regime that calls and works to destroy the one and only Jewish State,” he revealed.

Saying he looks forward to deepening economic ties to “propel both our countries towards a better future, a more prosperous future, for both our peoples,” the Premier said, “Of course, we’d like to do that with the concert and support and cooperation of the civilized powers of the world, the United States, the E3. I think we need to take a strong stance today against Iran and its quest to cross into a nuclear threshold, and become a threshold state, basically a state that can produce nuclear weapons with the expressed desire to annihilate Israel. They say: ‘Death to Israel; Death to the United States,’ and a danger to everyone in between. Everyone in between is Germany, the EU.”

Stressing the urgency of issuing a unified response, Netanyahu said it must be communicate to Iran “that it should not cross that threshold or there will be heavy consequences. But again, Israel will do what Israel needs to do to defend itself against those who want to annihilate the Jewish state. Israel will also act against Iran’s aggression and terrorism. Those who perpetrate terrorist attacks against Israel and those who send them will pay a heavy price. We share the concerns of those who are trying to escalate the tensions in our region, those who are trying to enflame terrorism. We are doing everything we can in an effort also to cooperate with our neighbors to prevent that escalation from going through, and to do so in the most responsible fashion.”

In addition to Israel’s security concerns, other topics of the bilateral talks focused on Israeli assistance to Ukraine, advancing sale of Arrow systems to Germany, expansion of youth exchanges, G2G and government-to-government meetings, as well as Berlin’s participation in economic projects of the 2020 Abraham Accords and other potential peace pacts.