update deskIsrael at War

Netanyahu to Germany’s Scholz: ‘Hamas the new Nazis’

Israel's premier met with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Tel Aviv amid a string of visits by world leaders.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz speak to reporters in Tel Aviv, Oct. 17, 2023. Photo by Kobi Gideon/GPO.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz speak to reporters in Tel Aviv, Oct. 17, 2023. Photo by Kobi Gideon/GPO.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Tel Aviv on Tuesday amid a string of visits to Israel by world leaders in the aftermath of the Oct. 7 terror attacks perpetrated by Hamas.

“As I said last week in the Bundestag, in hard times, Germany has only one place, and it is alongside Israel,” Scholz said in his public remarks.

“It is very important to say this today here during these difficult times in Israel: Germany’s history and the responsibility it had for the Holocaust requires us to help maintain the security and existence of Israel,” he added.

Netanyahu said the attacks that began on Oct. 7 marked “the worst crimes committed against Jews since the Holocaust.”

“Hamas are the new Nazis, Hamas is ISIS, in some instances worse than Nazis,” charged the premier.

Scholz is also expected to meet with Ministers Without Portfolio Benny Gantz and Gadi Eizenkot, both members of the National Unity Party who have joined Israel’s unity government.

The chancellor will also speak with Israeli President Isaac Herzog and visit a distribution center for humanitarian aid, according to Scholz’s public calendar.

Scholz was greeted at the airport by Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, who thanked him for “this important visit, which proves that Germany stands by the State of Israel and supports its struggle for the safety of its citizens.”

‘We condemn what has happened in Israel’

Earlier on Tuesday, Netanyahu hosted Romanian Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem.

“Mr. Prime Minister, first and foremost, we wanted to show you that friends show their solidarity in practice,” Ciolacu told Netanyahu following a closed-door meeting.

“We condemn what has happened in Israel and also the terrorist organization Hamas,” said Ciolacu, noting that the “Romanian parliament was the first parliament in Europe to have, with both chambers, a commonly agreed statement in support of the State of Israel.”

“The quest for peace in the Middle East is something we share,” Netanyahu responded, adding that “such peace will only be possible if this caliphate, this Daesh [ISIS] Caliphate, is destroyed. Nobody can make peace with Daesh, nobody can make peace with Al-Qaeda and nobody could make peace with the Nazis.”

Ciolacu was joined by Romania’s Defense Minister Angel Tîlvăr; Foreign Minister Luminița Odobescu; Jewish Parliament member Silviu Vexler; and Romanian Ambassador to Israel Radu Ioanid.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Tel Aviv on Oct. 17, 2023. Credit: Kobi Gideon/GPO.

U.S. President Joe Biden is about to visit Jerusalem. “On Wednesday, I’ll travel to Israel to stand in solidarity in the face of Hamas’s brutal terrorist attack,” he tweeted on Tuesday morning.

“I’ll then travel to Jordan to address dire humanitarian needs, meet with leaders and make clear that Hamas does not stand for Palestinians’ right to self-determination,” added the president.

According to Israel’s Channel 12, Biden will stay in Israel for about five hours. In Amman, he will attend a four-way summit focused on “dangerous developments in Gaza, its regional impact, and ensuring the provision of aid into the Strip,” Jordan’s King Abdullah II said.

French President Emmanuel Macron will likewise visit Israel in the coming days, according to Hebrew-language media reports. The French embassy did not immediately confirm the reports, but said Macron would visit Jerusalem as soon as there is a “useful agenda and concrete actions to promote.”

On Monday night, Hamas’s Al-Qassam Brigades on Telegram released unverified footage allegedly showing an Israeli-French dual national being held captive in the Gaza Strip.

“I’m Mia Shem, 21 years old from Shoham. Currently, I’m in Gaza. I returned early Saturday morning from Sderot—I was at a party. I was seriously injured in my hand,” the woman says, calling on Israel to “get me out of here as soon as possible.”

“It is an ignominy to take innocent people hostage and put them on show in this odious way,” Macron stated in a statement released by the Élysée Palace, demanding the “immediate and unconditional release” of Shem.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is set to visit Israel “as soon as Thursday,” Sky News reported on Tuesday. A spokesperson for the premier cited by Reuters declined to confirm the report, saying Sunak’s travel plans would be confirmed “in the usual way.”

On Tuesday, 30 ambassadors from European, South American and Asian countries received a tour of Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center (Ichilov Hospital) and expressed support for those wounded in Hamas’s Oct. 7 attacks.

“I have been in wars. I have been in operations. I have gone into battle zones. Things like this I have never seen,” Ichilov CEO Professor Ronni Gamzu told the envoys. “It was terror. It was brutal.”

Among other victims, the ambassadors met with two people who were injured at the music festival in the desert near Kibbutz Re’im, where Hamas gunmen murdered at least 260 festival-goers.

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