German Chancelor Merkel Arrives in Israel

October 3, 2018

German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives in Jerusalem for the first time in more than four years to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu amid growing U.S.-Europe tensions over Iran. Merkel is a leader of efforts to salvage the 2015 agreement that provides Iran relief from sanctions in exchange for a rollback of its nuclear program. Netanyahu has long denounced the deal. Despite being postponed for nearly a year and a half because of disagreements over Israel’s settlement policies and approach to the Palestinians, Merkel’s visit highlights continuing strong diplomatic ties between Germany and Israel. Germany is Israel’s largest trading partner in Europe and second most important overall, after the United States. Israel’s Dolphin-class submarine is manufactured in Kiel, Germany. During her visit, Merkel receives an honorary doctorate from the University of Haifa for her “groundbreaking leadership,” opposition to anti-Semitism and strengthening of Israeli-German scientific collaborations. during her trip she states, “…if there is supposed to be peace, an enduring peace, between Israelis and Palestinians, then of course it cannot be that all states say Israel should be a Jewish state, with democratic rights for minorities that live here, but the Palestinians don’t say it… This cannot be the basis for peace. Rather, solutions need to be found, and we are in favor of working on these solutions with full force, as has been discussed here… We favor and stand for the project of a two-state solution…”