NNot every opposition leader should have such a large train station in Israel, as was the case with Friedrich Merz. Conversations with the Prime Minister, the President and the local opposition leader show that the CDU chairman is being taken seriously. Perhaps some in Israel even see him as the future Federal Chancellor, although that is a distant dream.

No clear line

Within the narrow framework permitted by traditional German Israel policy, Merz exercised his authority during his visit and distanced himself from the federal government. He expressed understanding for the planned operation in Rafah and said he was convinced that the Israeli military was doing everything it could to protect civilians in the Gaza Strip.

That's a long way from Baerbock, who speaks of a humanitarian catastrophe and calls for another ceasefire. The Foreign Minister has recently changed her position in line with the Americans.

This will not displease the green base, but it contributes to the impression that Germany is not pursuing a clear line: solidarity with Israel after October 7th, but abstention in the UN; Criticism of Israeli actions in Gaza, but restrictions on development aid for the Palestinians. Merz rightly says that Hamas must be destroyed. Does the federal government still see it that way?