Israel’s tourism minister will not visit Germany, citing Nazi past
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Israel’s tourism minister will not visit Germany, citing Nazi past

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attending a press conference at the Chancellery following the 6th German-Israeli government consultations in Berlin, Germany, Feb. 16, 2016. (Carsten Koall/Getty Images)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a news conference in Berlin, Feb. 16, 2016. (Carsten Koall/Getty Images)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s tourism minister said he will not make an official visit to Germany due to its Nazi past.

Yariv Levin of the ruling Likud party said Saturday night that the idea of a visit to Germany makes him “uneasy,” Israel Hayom reported Sunday.

Levin missed a major international tourism fair last week in Berlin, where representatives of the Palestinian Authority were present and active.

“I see great importance in the relationship between Israel and Germany,” he said. “Within that context, I have met with German officials more than once here in Israel. However, I do feel uneasy visiting Germany.”

Last month, Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz, also of Likud, remained behind in Israel when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other senior government ministers made an official visit to Germany, where they held an annual joint government session. It was the sixth such session for the two countries celebrating their cooperation.

“As a son of survivors, I do not travel to Germany,” Katz told Israel Hayom in an interview last month. “My father escaped on a train from Budapest, and my mother was imprisoned in seven concentration camps in Germany and Poland by the time she was 15.

“I maintain the necessary contacts demanded by the responsibilities of my job, but I do not take part in ceremonies and I do not visit.”