Chancellor Olaf Scholz reiterated Germany’s support for Israel, while at the same time expressing his concern about the risk of escalating tensions in the Middle East. Mr. Scholz also asked for the support of people in Germany, “so that we can all guarantee the safety of our Jewish fellow citizens.”

“It is terrible to see how people are killed, how they are humiliated, how the kidnapped continue to be humiliated and their lives are threatened (…) We stand by Israel. The country has every right to defend itself (…) There is a risk of a conflagration in the region and it is the duty of all of us to ensure that this does not happen,” the chancellor said in an interview late yesterday (Wednesday) evening on Channel One of German public broadcaster ARD and referred to “extensive diplomatic efforts”, including the release of hostages held by Hamas.

Today Olaf Solz welcomes the Emir of Qatar Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, who in the past maintained close relations with Hamas, while yesterday he had contact with the president of Egypt Abdel Fattah al Sisi and will soon speak with the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Referring to the issue of hostages, Mr. Scholz emphasized that the actions to be taken must be very discreet and confirmed that German citizens are among the kidnapped.

He addressed the citizens of Germany and, in the light of the events of Hamas supporters, asked for their help: “I am asking for the support of the citizens so that we can all together guarantee the safety of our Jewish fellow citizens and stand by their side in solidarity,” he said and emphasized that such events will not be accepted. The state will take tough measures against the offenders, he added and assured that Jewish institutions will be protected by the relevant authorities. “It is quite “bitter” that they even have to be protected, but the state will do it,” he characteristically said.

In the same interview, the chancellor also referred to immigration, admitting that now “too many people are coming”. “It is a challenge that so many people are coming to Germany illegally,” he said, advocating a more restrictive refugee policy. Earlier yesterday, Mr. Solz had invited the leader of the Christian Democratic Party (CDU) Friedrich Merz to a meeting for tomorrow (Friday), on immigration policy, together with the representatives of the states.

Olaf Solz also stressed the need for moderation in the management of immigration. “To implement what is necessary (…) To be strict and clear, but without foaming at the mouth,” the chancellor said and added that safe countries of origin should be increased, referring specifically to Moldova and Georgia , which wish to join the European Union.