Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern, who is visiting Israel, tried to mediate between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, but to no avail, the Austrian news website Die Presse reported on Tuesday.
Netanyahu had carried out an ultimatum issued to Gabriel on Monday, and cancelled his meeting with Gabriel due to the fact that the German minister had met with representatives of several leftist organizations, including B'Tselem and Breaking the Silence.
Source close to Kern told Die Presse that the Austrian Chancellor, who met Netanyahu on Tuesday, tried to persuade the Prime Minister to meet Gabriel after all, but Netanyahu insisted that he would not do so.
The sources also said that Kern tried unsuccessfully over the last week to convince Gabriel to cancel his meetings with the leftist groups.
Gabriel responded to Netanyahu’s ultimatum by saying: "It is perfectly normal for us to meet with representatives of civil organizations during a diplomatic visit, and you do not get a full impression of the state when you meet only with the government. You have to talk to artists, writers and even critical organizations."
On Tuesday, Gabriel refused to take a phone call from Netanyahu after the cancellation of their meeting, but said the German-Israeli relationship would not change following the row.