A diplomatic dispute arises due to the presence of the German ambassador at an Israeli court hearing.
On Monday, an Israeli diplomatic official stated that the Israeli government has expressed its dissatisfaction to Germany regarding the attendance of the German ambassador at a significant Supreme Court hearing last week. This hearing examined the legality of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s proposed changes to the judiciary system.
The complaint, sent at the order of Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, sparked a rare diplomatic spat between the two allies, with German leaders defending their ambassador against the criticism.
The Israeli representative, who requested anonymity due to discussing confidential diplomatic matters, stated that Israel expressed its dissatisfaction through diplomatic channels, including the Israeli Embassy in Berlin.
“He added that this decision was made by the most influential person in the ministry.” Cohen, who is a trusted supporter of Netanyahu, stated this.
Last Tuesday’s hearing was the first challenge to Netanyahu’s contentious judicial overhaul, which has bitterly divided the Israeli public and put the country on the brink of a constitutional crisis.
Ahead of the hearing, German Ambassador Steffen Seibert posted a video of himself on X, formerly known as Twitter, inside the courtroom under the heading: “The place to be this morning.” It included the Hebrew hashtag for Israel’s Supreme Court.
“I believe there is a significant development taking place for Israeli democracy,” he stated in Hebrew. “As supporters of Israel, we are closely observing the Supreme Court and I wanted to witness it firsthand.” Seibert refrained from sharing his viewpoint on the matter in the video.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz stood up for his government’s representative in response to Israeli criticism during his visit to New York.
“I firmly believe that the German ambassador is a highly dedicated individual with unwavering principles, and I am confident that this is widely recognized, even in Israel,” Scholz stated to reporters.
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock added that it is the “everyday business of diplomats” to monitor developments in foreign countries. “It’s also normal to go to public hearings or public court cases — it’s part of his job,” she said.
Scholz and Netanyahu have a planned meeting on Tuesday during the U.N. General Assembly in New York.
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