The alleged German “tourist” Gerald Hetzel is travelling with right-wing extremists in Israel
Last week, two Germans were apparently attacked by stone-throwers in the West Bank city of Nablus. The young men were travelling in an Israeli rented car, which was recognisable as such from the outside by its number plate and stickers. The attack was also widely reported in the German media, where the victims told of their “feeling of mortal fear” and the destroyed vehicle. The two were finally pulled out of the situation by a Palestinian who is said to have Israeli citizenship.
Steffen Seibert, the new German ambassador in Tel Aviv, found it “outrageous and cowardly” that “a mob attacks tourists because they don’t like their number plate”.
However, there was no ordinary “tourist” in the car, but the German activist Gerald Hetzel, a member of the German-Israeli Society, which is active in 53 local groups nationwide. In the Passau section, which he founded, the 26-year-old student operates the email account and answers enquiries promptly.
Hetzel’s previous activities suggest that his presence in Nablus may have been a deliberate provocation. He worked with the right-wing extremist Israeli organisation “Im Tirtzu” for several months, as evidenced by a post on Instagram, full of praise for the German.
He can also be seen on a video handing out sweets to soldiers on the Temple Mount wearing a T-shirt of the organisation. According to Hetzel, he only put the garment on briefly. This is not very credible: in other videos, he provocatively walks through Palestinian villages in the West Bank wearing the same T-shirt.
On Tuesday, the young man from Passau was finally present with a camera when right-wing extremist Israelis attacked a protest by Breaking the Silence in Hebron. Not a German “tourist”, then, but a right-wing activist with a penchant for drama.
Published in German in „nd“.
Image: Gerald Hetzel.