Chancellor Nehammer and President Herzog
Chancellor Nehammer and President HerzogKobi Gideon/GPO

President Isaac Herzog today (Wednesday) met in Tel Aviv with Chancellor of Austria Karl Nehammer, who visited Israel to show solidarity with the people of Israel, following the horrific terror attack by Hamas on October 7.

President Herzog said: “Welcome dear Chancellor Neehammer to Israel, you are a great friend of Israel in one of our worst moments as a nation since the establishment of the State of Israel."

“I've just returned from meeting another community which has been displaced. The community of Nahal Oz which lost many many members who were killed and murdered in the atrocious attack on 7th October. They have members who have been abducted and hijacked to Gaza - the demand of the entire nation here and the people of Israel at large, and of course the word community, is for the immediate release and the immediate return of the hijacked to Israel.

In an apparent reference to the claim by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres that the massacre "did not happen in a vacuum," Herzog said that “Hamas carried out atrocious crimes against humanity. I hear words and sentences and comments by various leaders in a way trying to accommodate a reasoning for terror. There is no reason for terror there is no justification for terror. There is no right for anybody to use terror against another person. With all due respect to all these experts - I just invite them to see what happened in the peaceful region around Gaza. Peace-loving people who worked every day and actually cared for their neighbors in Gaza - how they were slaughtered and beaten and attacked and raped and burned, and cut off their heads and their children's heads as well. So I think now is the time for solidarity and thank you for being here with us.”

Chancellor Nehammer responded: “Thank you Mr. President, we are standing side by side here today, and it's a sign of solidarity with Israel, with the people in Israel, and a sign of our joint fight against terrorism.

"We condemn Hamas's heinous terrorist attack on Israel on October 7th, and the barbaric murder of innocent civilians, and in the strongest possible terms. Hamas must release hostages immediately, and unconditionally. There is also an Austrian-Israeli dual citizen amongst the hostages whose father I will meet later today.

“Israel has every right to defend itself in accordance with international law. Because there is never – like you said – a justification for terror. We must fight terror here and now with all our power and thereby prevent terror from spreading in your region, and far beyond. To put it clearly, we must erase terror and Austria stands by your side.

“We must prevent the spillover – to achieve this all forces in the region and beyond must work together - I think it's really important now - intensive efforts are underway in the background and all levels, political, diplomatic, and in the security sector. We are in close contact with international partners. We try our best because it must be the goal that all people should live in security in Israel and Austria, Europe and in the world. And because there is no greater enemy of democracy than fear.

“As Austrian Chancellor, I will do everything I can in order to fight antisemitism and to promote Jewish life because Never Again is now Mr. President.”