Netanyahu shortens Berlin visit, amid Israeli security worries

Reuters  /  March 15, 2023

JERUSALEM – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday shortened a trip to Berlin scheduled for this week, according to his office, which earlier said he had held consultations “on developments in national security”.

The statements did not specify whether the rescheduling and consultations were linked. Nor did they provide further details.

Netanyahu is due to depart for the German capital later on Wednesday. A preliminary itinerary circulated last week said he would return on Friday. But the new statement said he would return on Thursday.

His nationalist-religious coalition government, in power since December, has been beset by unprecedented protests against a planned judicial overhaul. Demonstrators said they would try to prevent him reaching the airport on Wednesday.

Separately, he and Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said they have been holding high-level discussions about a national security matter on which Israeli officials have declined further comment.

On Monday, an Israeli motorist was seriously hurt in an explosion on a road near the occupied West Bank, where Palestinian militant attacks have intensified in recent months.

Authorities secured a court order limiting reporting on the incident, which some Israeli media described as a roadside bomb that may have been set off prematurely.

Writing by Dan Williams; editing by Toby Chopra and Alex Richardson