Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is visiting Berlin – and as usual, the highest level of security applies in the capital. For the Berlin police, the almost three-day stay of the Israeli head of government means a special challenge and a large-scale operation. The police announced extensive road closures and closures for several locations from Wednesday to Friday.

This applies in particular to the area around the Hotel Waldorf Astoria near the main shopping street Ku’damm, the Federal Chancellery and Bellevue Palace, where Netanyahu will meet Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) and Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier. The platform 17 Holocaust memorial at Wannsee station, which Netanyahu visits, will also be cordoned off over a large area. “Within the invited delegation there are guests who are subject to a very significantly increased risk,” said the police.

Thousands of police officers on duty

The visit of the Israeli Prime Minister is accompanied by a large-scale police operation. According to a statement from the police union (GdP), more than 3,000 police officers were on duty from Wednesday to Friday morning. The exact number has not yet been determined, but could also reach the order of 4000 emergency services. All 16 operational hundreds of the Berlin police and the 5 additional so-called alarm hundreds are planned, said the GdP. The police from other federal states asked for support from more than 20 other hundreds.

Several protest demonstrations have already been announced. The largest rally is registered with 1000 participants at 3 p.m. at the Brandenburg Gate, according to the police.

Before that, at 10:00 a.m. there will be a demonstration with 100 participants on Willy-Brandt-Strasse in the government district and at 1:00 p.m. there will be a “demonstration against the occupation by the Israeli government” on Republic Square by the Reichstag building.

The protests are directed, among other things, against the judicial reform planned by Netanyahu’s right-wing religious government. In Israel there are currently regular large-scale demonstrations against the reform. The Israeli parliament should be able to overturn decisions of the highest court. Critics see this as a threat to the separation of powers.

Israeli artists call for cancellation

In a letter to the German and British embassies, around 1,000 Israeli artists, writers and academics called for the cancellation of Netanyahu’s upcoming visits. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that they had written that Israel was in the worst crisis in its history and was “on the way from a vibrant democracy to a theocratic dictatorship”. Also among the signatories are writer David Grossman and sculptor Sigalit Landau.

According to the German government, the talks with Prime Minister Netanyahu will focus on cooperation between the two states as well as international and regional security issues.