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Netanyahu Government in Diplomatic Crisis with Germany

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his government are in a deepening diplomatic crisis with Germany after the PM cancelled a scheduled meeting with Germany’s visiting foreign minister because he defied Netanyahu’s ban on meeting with groups on the far-left of the political spectrum. One group in particular, Breaking the Silence, is known for providing often unverified “testimony” critical of Israeli soldiers operating in the West Bank. Local sources report that when Netanyahu tried to phone Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel to explain why he had cancelled the meeting, Gabriel refused to speak with the prime minister. For his part, Gabriel nevertheless tried to down-play the incident by reiterating the close ties between Israel and Germany and his own relationship with Netanyahu. A meeting between Gabriel and Israeli President Reuven Rivlin was held as planned.