Merkel bids Israel farewell after 16 years of support

11 October 2021


BSS :
Germany's outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel has been visiting Israel on a farewell tour from Sunday, after a 16-year term during which she cultivated warm relations with the Jewish state.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has said  that he and Merkel would discuss "regional threats and challenges, especially the Iranian nuclear issue", and maintaining Israel's "strength in all spheres". It is Merkel's eighth and final visit to Israel as chancellor, as she prepares to retire from politics.
She arrived late Saturday, the Israeli foreign ministry said. Merkel had initially planned to visit in August, but delayed her trip amid the chaotic exit of US and allied forces, including Germans, from Afghanistan.
The 67-year-old trained physicist is to receive an honorary doctorate from Haifa's Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. She will also visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial and meet Israeli tech leaders, Bennett's office said. The veteran of German politics will be the guest of the recently sworn-in. Bennett, who ended Benjamin Netanyahu's 12 straight years as premier. Merkel congratulated Bennett on taking office in June, saying Germany and Israel were "connected by a unique friendship that we want to strengthenfurther".
Merkel's administration advocated for a two-state solution to the Israeli- Palestinian conflict. But she stressed Israel's security as a crucial priority of German foreign policy.  
Germany and Israel forged strong diplomatic ties in the decades after World War II, with Berlin committed to the preservation of the Jewish state in penance for the Holocaust.
In 2008, Merkel stood before the Israeli parliament to atone on behalf of the German people in a historic address.   

Add Rate