BERLIN – Hezbollah has 950 members in Germany, including 250 in the capital, a reported released by Berlin’s domestic intelligence agency released last week showed.
A Hezbollah-controlled orphans organization in Lower Saxony state is used to raise money for the families of suicide bombers targeting Israelis, the 140-page German-language report examined by The Jerusalem Post also showed.
The Lebanese terrorist organization had some 900 members in the Federal Republic in 2010, and 950 in 2011, around the same number it has now.
Dr. Wahied Wahdat-Hagh, a leading European expert on the Iranian regime and Hezbollah terrorism, told the Post on Saturday it had long been known that Berlin was “a strong center of Hezbollah.”
Many Shi’ites fled the Lebanese civil war in 1982 and relocated to Germany, he said.
Berlin became a magnet for Hezbollah-affiliated Lebanese refugees.
“It is no surprise that Berlin hosts the annual al-Quds Day march,” Wahdat- Hagh said. The al-Quds demonstration has been an annual event in Berlin since 1996 and advocates the destruction of the Jewish state. More than 1,000 supporters of Iran and Hezbollah turned out for the march last year.
According to the Berlin Agency for the Protection of the Constitution, the agency responsible for security in the capital and which published the report, “The supporters of Hezbollah in Germany behave in a largely inconspicuous way. One distinguishable role is played by the Orphans Project Lebanon [Waisenkinderprojekt Libanon e.V] in Göttingen and supports the survivors of fighters against Israel.”
In a 2009 study of Orphans Project Lebanon, Alexander Ritzmann, a political analyst and senior fellow with the European Foundation for Democracy in Brussels, revealed that the charity is “the German branch of a Hezbollah suborganization” that “promotes suicide bombings” and aims to destroy Israel.
The Federal Republic allows the Waisenkinderprojekt Libanon e.V. to operate and raise funds, but eliminated its tax exemption several years ago.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel says Israel’s security interests are integral to those of the Federal Republic, but has refused since 2005 to close down Hezbollah’s Orphan’s Project in Lower Saxony.
Though Germany banned reception of Hezbollah’s Al-Manar television station in hotels in 2008, it is available in homes.
France pulled the plug on Al-Manar reception in 2004 because of lethal anti-Semitic propaganda and the dissemination of hatred contradicting French values. The United States outlawed the reception of Al- Manar.
Germany, France and the UK favor a ban of Hezbollah’s military wing. Austria, Ireland, Denmark, Italy and Sweden have raised objections to including Hezbollah’s military apparatus in the EU terror list.
Wahdat-Hagh said that in Germany, people fear that Hezbollah will wage war against Germany and not Israel. As a result, they have been wary about banning Hezbollah, he said.