Israel rebuffs German promise to detain Prime Minister Netanyahu if ICC issues warrant

JERUSALEM – A spokesperson for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticized German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s administration for announcing on Wednesday that Germany would detain and extradite Netanyahu if the International Criminal Court (ICC) issues an arrest warrant for him.

“I am old enough to remember the German leader coming here days after October 7, and stating the Hamas are the new Nazis. They seek a genocide against the Jews. Many in the world need to check their moral compass and be on the right side of history.” Avi Hyman, a spokesperson for , told Digital on Thursday.

Scholz’s spokesperson, Steffen Hebestreit, was asked on Wednesday whether the German government would execute an ICC arrest order against Netanyahu for alleged war crimes during Israel’s efforts to defeat the Hamas terrorist movement in the Gaza Strip. Hebestreit responded, “Of course. Yes, we abide by the law.”


Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, told Digital, “It is beyond comprehension that any German government would arrest the democratically elected PM of the Jewish state on blood libel lies. It should be arresting all the antisemites attacking Jews on the streets of its nation. Never, never again.”

Scholz’s administration’s targeting of Netanyahu has sparked comments about Germany’s failure to have internalized the lessons of the Holocaust, in which the Nazis arrested, deported and murdered six million European Jews.

A day before Scholz’s spokesperson said Germany would implement the , Israel’s Ambassador to Germany, Ron Prosor, wrote on X, “The Chief Prosecutor [of the ICC] equates a democratic government with Hamas, thereby demonizing and delegitimizing Israel and the Jewish people. He has completely lost his moral compass. Germany has a responsibility to readjust this compass. This disgraceful political campaign could become a nail in the coffin for the West and its institutions. Do not let it come to that!”

Prosor, who was Israel’s former Ambassador the U.N., said, “This is outrageous! The German ‘Staatsräson’ is now being put to the test—no ifs or buts. This contrasts with the weak statements we hear from some institutions and political actors. The public statement that Israel has the right to self-defense loses credibility if our hands are tied as soon as we defend ourselves.”

Former Chancellor Angela Merkel famously said to Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, in 2008 that her country’s reason for being—in German Staatsräson—is its security pledge to the existence of Israel and to ensure that Iran’s regime does not build a nuclear weapons device. Prosor , in his X post, to fill Merkel’s notion of raison d’etre toward the Jewish state with meaning and content.

Scholz is a member of the left-of-center Social Democratic Party. Merkel comes from the conservative Christian Democratic Union party.


Germany is a passionate supporter of the ICC and is one of its top donors. Netanyahu said about the ICC chief prosecutor’s act to issue arrest warrants for him and Israeli defense minister, Yoav Gallant, that they are the latest examples of “what the new antisemitism looks like.”  

A spokesperson for the Federal German government said on Tuesday that “The accusations of the chief prosecutor are serious and must be substantiated.”

The founding of the ICC was animated by Nazi Germany’s destruction of European Jewry and as a way to stop totalitarian crimes against humanity. Critics argue that the ICC mission has been perverted by its attack on the Middle East’s only democracy, Israel, which is waging an existential war against the Iranian regime-backed Hamas movement.

Scholz faced intense criticism in 2022 for failing to counter the antisemitic statement of Palestinian Authority President in Mahmoud Abbas. The Palestinian leader, Abbas, delivered at the time a shocking tirade against Israel in Berlin, where the Holocaust was organized, claiming the Jewish state 

Scholz went silent as Abbas distorted and played down the Holocaust.  

press queries to Chancellor Scholz’s spokesman and to German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock were not immediately returned.