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At Berlin Holocaust memorial, Netanyahu says evil must be stopped early

Israel’s prime minister joins German Chancellor Olaf Scholz for a ceremony at Platform 17, from where thousands of Jews were deported during World War II.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz lay wreaths in honor of Holocaust victims at Platform 17 in Berlin, March 16, 2023. Photo by Haim Tzach/GPO.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz lay wreaths in honor of Holocaust victims at Platform 17 in Berlin, March 16, 2023. Photo by Haim Tzach/GPO.

Standing beside German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Thursday at a Holocaust memorial in Berlin, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made an indirect reference to Israel’s efforts to prevent Iran from threatening the Jewish state with nuclear weapons.

“The calls to destroy the Jewish people have not ended. The main lesson we have learned is that when we are faced with such evil, we must stop the evil plans early to prevent a disaster,” Netanyahu said at Platform 17, a memorial at Grunewald Station commemorating the thousands of Jews deported on Deutsche Reichsbahn trains from the terminal.

Netanyahu and Scholz were joined at the ceremony by Holocaust survivor Franz Michalski and representatives of Germany’s Jewish community along with Israeli officials including Ambassador to Germany Ron Prosor and National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi.

The ceremony included a moment of silence, the laying of wreaths and the lighting of memorial candles. Berlin-based Chabad Rabbi Yehudah Teichtal recited the Kaddish mourning prayer in memory of the 6 million Jews murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators during World War II.

“We welcome the friendship of our friends, who share our concern, our values ​​and our desire to prevent these prevailing regimes and crazy idealisms from destroying the entire world. The alliance between us is strong, and this is reflected in the fact that we are standing here today,” Netanyahu said at the ceremony, foreshadowing a meeting and press conference scheduled to take place later in the day with Scholz in which Iran was expected to be a major topic of discussion.

Netanyahu headed to Scholz’s office in Berlin for the afternoon meeting where he was joined by his chief of staff Tzachi Braverman, Prosor and Hanegbi.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz at his office in Berlin, March 16, 2023. Photo by Haim Zach/GPO.

Before leaving for Germany on Wednesday night, Netanyahu said, “I am now departing on a visit to Berlin, where I will meet with the German chancellor. The main subject that I will discuss is Iran, as well as other issues that are important to the State of Israel. The security issues do not take a break, even for a moment.”

According to German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle, a large police operation is assigned for Netanyahu’s visit, with more than 3,000 officers deployed. German authorities have assigned his visit the highest level of security, including road closures and cordons.

In addition to an Israeli protest against the government’s judicial reform, a pro-Palestinian demonstration is scheduled for Berlin on Thursday.

Platform 17, a Holocaust memorial, in Berlin. Photo by Menachem Wecker.

As part of his diplomatic push since retaking office, which also included a trip to Paris last month, Netanyahu will travel to London at the end of the month.

Netanyahu’s office announced on Wednesday that he would be returning to Israel this evening and not on Friday morning as originally scheduled, due to the security situation in the country following a terrorist bombing earlier in the week.

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