BERLIN – Israel’s new ambassador to Germany, Yaakov Hadas-Handelsman, who was
accredited on Friday after the top diplomatic post in Berlin had gone vacant for
six months, called on the Federal Republic to help unite Europe against the
Islamic Republic of Iran.
In an interview with the mass-circulation Bild
newspaper on Saturday, Hadas-Handelsman urged that “Germany, with all of its
power and influence in Europe, take over a leading role of responsibility” in
preventing the leaders of Iran, who “think that [Iran] can lay low until the
sharp wind disappears,” from acquiring a nuclear weapon.
conducted the interview in German and said, “I always read in the newspapers
here, ‘What will happen if there is a war with Iran?’ The people should instead
ask, ‘What will happen if Iran gets the bomb?’ The German press says that Israel
should not attack Iran. That sounds as if Iran is only a problem for
Israel. It must be made clear: Iran is a problem for the entire
The 54-year-old diplomat was born in Tel Aviv and served
previously as the ambassador to Brussels dealing with the NATO and the EU. He
called the ambassadorial post in Germany as one of the most important in
Israel’s foreign ministry.
Though his criticism of Germany was directed
at the media, top politicians in that country have undermined Israel since
November, according to critics. In contrast to his British and Dutch
counterparts, who have argued that the military option targeting Iran must
remain on the table, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle of the
pro-business Free Democratic Party said that his country “reject[s] a discussion
about military options” in connection with the Iranian nuclear
German Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere said in February that
an IDF strike on Iran would be “highly unlikely” to succeed, and would cause
“obvious political damage.”
Hadas-Handelsman told the newspaper that he
comes from a Holocaust family. His father was the only survivor and managed to
escape the Nazis at the beginning of World War II by fleeing to
The ambassador said his father’s family came from a small city in
“Within a week, they were picked up and deported to Treblinka and
immediately annihilated. I sense a special responsibility here to represent the
State of Israel and the Jewish people.”
He stressed in the interview that
Israel is working with all diplomatic means to end the Iranian nuclear crisis.
Hadas-Handelsman added, however, that “if that does not work, all options
remain on the table.
We are not ruling anything out. Iran should not know
what we are planning.”
Hadas-Handelsman speaks Hebrew, English, German,
Arabic and Turkish. He has a bachelor’s degree in international relations and
Middle East studies from Tel Aviv University.
He completed his master’s
degree at the Hebrew University in Middle East studies.