Angela Merkel reaffirmed German-Israeli ties before leaving for a visit to Israel.
The German chancellor said in an address Saturday that Berlin shares Jerusalem’s security concerns.
“The threats to which the Israeli state is exposed are also threats to us,” Merkel said, referring mainly to Iran and its virulently anti-Zionist rhetoric.
Germany has called for tougher U.N. Security Council sanctions to persuade Iran to abandon its nuclear program, but has stopped short of endorsing the possibility of military strikes as a last resort.
“The Iranian nuclear program cannot continue,” Merkel said, “and Iran must finally play by international rules.”
Merkel flies to Israel on Sunday for a three-day trip that will include an address, in German, in the Knesset.
“With this, we want to take responsibility for the past,” she said. “We want to show clearly that Israel’s right to exist is a permanent part of German foreign policy.”
Merkel and Quartet peace envoy Tony Blair in June will host an Israeli-Palestinian security conference in Berlin.