A senior political source on Monday evening spoke to Arutz Sheva about the ultimatum presented by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, regarding his planned meeting with members of leftist groups Breaking the Silence and B'Tselem, saying the move was necessary.
The message was conveyed earlier on Monday by the Foreign Ministry to Gabriel’s entourage as he landed in Israel. He is scheduled to meet on Tuesday with both Netanyahu as well as with the members of the leftist organizations.
“It’s time to make clear to Germany that we too have red lines,” the official told Arutz Sheva. “If it was a low-level meeting, it might have looked different. But when the Foreign Minister comes here and goes to meet with organizations that are working against the government's policy and against the Prime Minister's policy, this is unacceptable."
“The Prime Minister would never come to a country like Britain or Germany, where there are organizations that are working against the government's policy, and meet with the heads of those organizations. How would that country react if he did? There is significance to such a meeting held by a foreign minister,” the source continued.
Netanyahu’s ultimatum to Gabriel was backed on Monday by Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud), who said she "backs the Prime Minister's decision to set a red line regarding anti-Israel organizations such as B'Tselem and Breaking the Silence. This is an important struggle against those who defame Israel in the world."
MK Yoav Kisch (Likud), who heads the Knesset House Committee, expressed support for Netanyahu’s move as well, saying, "The German Foreign Minister and any other leader who wants to meet those who spread poison against Israel must understand: Legitimizing hatred of Israel is out of the question."
At the same time, opposition leader and Zionist Union chairman MK Yitzhak Herzog blasted the move, saying that "Netanyahu is running away. Placing an ultimatum before the German Foreign Minister deals a serious blow to Israel's foreign relations with the largest economy in Europe and a true friend of the Jewish people."
"Instead of running away, I call on Netanyahu to meet with the German Foreign Minister and present his positions and Israel's positions without fear of other organizations," Herzog added.