The ongoing mass protests in Israel are being supported by funds from Germany and Iran, Likud Minister Galit Distel-Atbaryan claims. Germany’s ambassador in Tel Aviv rejected the allegations made by the minister for public diplomacy.
Galit Distel-Atbaryan, Israel’s new minister of public diplomacy, on Thursday army radio claims that “funds from Germany or Iran” are behind the ongoing protests against the Netanyahu government stand. It is “funds from abroad, mostly from anti-Semitic sources” that bring people onto the streets. Distel-Atbaryan added that the demonstrators were unaware that they were being exploited from abroad.
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Tens of thousands of Israelis have been demonstrating against the new government’s plans every Saturday evening for the past month. Her criticism is primarily directed at the judicial reform, which, among other things, is intended to de facto disempower the Supreme Court.
The Likud minister’s mentioning of Germany in the same breath as Iran has caused dissatisfaction in Berlin. Germany’s ambassador in Tel Aviv Steffen Seibert was reported by the Israeli daily hairnet quoted as saying he was “disappointed” with Distel-Atbaryan’s statements. The minister’s mention of Germany, “a friend and democratic partner of Israel”, alongside “totalitarian Iran” is not appropriate.
With Benjamin Netanyahu’s victory, the election results in November 2022 ended a series of four elections within three years in which neither camp for and against Netanyahu had been able to achieve a clear victory. However, the new government of Netanyahu came about from a weak position. Because Netanyahu had to make several concessions to his nationalist and ultra-religious coalition partners in order to be able to form a government alliance at all. The Israeli state crisis, however, extends far beyond the dispute over judicial reform and the radical personalities in the government. The prime minister has already announced that settlement construction in the West Bank will be further strengthened.
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