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Israeli complaint against German envoy over judicial reform ‘interference’

Ambassador Steffen Seibert said in a Hebrew-language video that "friends of Israel are looking with a lot of interest toward the Supreme Court."

German Ambassador to Israel Steffen Seibert. Photo by Re: Publica via Wikimedia Commons.
German Ambassador to Israel Steffen Seibert. Photo by Re: Publica via Wikimedia Commons.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry filed an official complaint with Germany after its ambassador attended this month’s Supreme Court hearing on the “reasonableness law,” the ministry said on Monday.

Jerusalem’s envoy in Berlin notified the German government that it considered Ambassador Steffen Seibert’s presence at the Sept. 12 hearing “unacceptable interference in Israel’s internal affairs,” the diplomatic démarche said.

Seibert, who in February signaled his opposition to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s judicial reform plans, publicized his attendance on X, saying in a Hebrew-language video that “friends of Israel are looking with a lot of interest toward the Supreme Court.”

“I think something important is happening here for Israeli democracy,” he told his followers, adding: “I wanted to see for myself.” Seibert captioned the video, “The place to be this morning.”

“Senior officials in the Foreign Ministry conveyed to the German ambassador in Israel that they view his conduct and arrival at the High Court hearing seriously,” a Foreign Ministry official stated in response to a question from JNS.

“The minister of foreign affairs [Eli Cohen] instructed Israel’s ambassador to Germany, Ron Prosor, to contact the German foreign minister [Annalena Baerbock ] and convey the message that the ambassador’s behavior is unacceptable and constitutes interference in Israel’s internal political affairs,” the official added.

The German Foreign Ministry on Monday backed Seibert’s decision to attend the Supreme Court hearing. Following relevant domestic political developments in the host country is a “central task of diplomats,” Berlin said, according to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

Some eight months ago, Seibert and Oliver Owcza, the German representative to the Palestinian Authority, took part of what Seibert called an “insightful” tour conducted by the anti-Israel NGO Ir Amim.

NGO Monitor has stated that Ir Amim “frequently accuses Israel of attempting to ‘Judaize’ Jerusalem and promotes the Palestinian narrative on the city.”

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