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Germany’s Israel policy: chatter instead of doing – 2024-04-20 17:48:04

Israel’s security is supposedly a German reason of state, but the Jewish state receives real support in the event of war from others. The federal government should finally put its words into action.

Since Iran’s attack on Israel at the weekend, a popular and traditional discipline has been pursued in Germany, the rhetorical four-way battle: people condemn the attack, express solidarity, appeal to everyone involved, and advise de-escalation.

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It is like so often when the Israeli state is attacked by its numerous enemies in the region: the federal government sends free messages to Tel Aviv. While there is no question that expressions of solidarity remain necessary and important, they are also the cheapest political resource a government can mobilize. And they sound a bit helpless too.

It is emphasized in a ritualized manner that Israel’s security is German reasons of state. Wouldn’t it be time to finally put words into action instead of greetings of solidarity from Germany?

Because this attack was different: it is the first direct attack by the Iranian regime on Israeli territory. Even though 99 percent of the more than 300 missiles were brought down from the sky by the Israeli air defense and Iran apparently deliberately refrained from using its most lethal arsenal, the mullahs have crossed a red line with this attack.

At the same time, they have demonstrated that the deterrence of Israel and its allies has at least partially failed. Otherwise the attack would not have taken place at all.

Condemn, appease, give advice

The Israeli government will now carefully consider how it can credibly restore its deterrence capability. It is to be hoped that she will resort to clandestine methods in the event of a possible counterattack. The shadow war that Israel and Iran have been waging for years is dangerous, but has lower risks of escalation than open actions. It remains to be seen whether Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu will take the US warning not to escalate further seriously. In any case, the risk of a major war in the Middle East has increased again since the weekend.

Therefore, on the one hand, it is right for the federal government, as it says, to do everything it can to prevent a hot war between Israel and Iran.

On the other hand, that’s not enough.

For far too long, Germany has made itself comfortable in the role of fobbing off Israel in the event of an attack with greetings of solidarity and sad faces, while other countries provide real help. One can ponder for a long time about German history and Germany’s resulting responsibility for Israel’s security, but in the end the existence of the Jewish state depends on very tangible things such as fighter jets, anti-aircraft batteries and rockets.

“Impressed” by the achievements of others

How the German transfer of responsibility works can now be observed again. Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD), who was on the plane to China when he found out about it, called the Iranian action a “bad escalation of the situation,” but the Israeli air defense forces “fortunately” managed to largely repel the attack.

But luck had very little to do with it. As Scholz stated “impressed” in the next sentence, it was more due to the sophisticated Israeli air defense system, which was supported by numerous allies. In addition to the USA, Great Britain, Saudi Arabia and Jordan, French Rafaele fighter jets were also involved in neutralizing Iranian drones.

Perhaps the federal government should be less impressed by what others are doing and instead take action itself. The form in which this can take place would have to be discussed politically and carefully considered. For example, the defense policy spokesman for the Union faction, Florian Hahn (CSU), demanded on t-online that Germany could participate in protecting Israel “with appropriate forces such as the Eurofighter.”

We’re already doing a lot!

Such a risky operation must not be decided upon lightly and would require a mandate from the German Bundestag anyway. But it is at least an initiative that fills the countless expressions of solidarity from Germany with life.

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