Merkel’s Knesset speech approved


Israel formally approved next week’s address to the Knesset in German by Angela Merkel.

The Knesset House Committee on Tuesday voted to allow the German chancellor to deliver a speech in the plenum, though generally that privilege is reserved for foreign heads of state rather than government.

Merkel’s case was unusually fraught as she plans to speak in German – a language many in Israel still associate with the Holocaust.

Two right-wing lawmakers in the Knesset House Committee voiced opposition to Merkel’s appearance but were outvoted.

Yoel Hasson, a lawmaker with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s centrist Kadima Party, argued in broadcast remarks that “having the German chancellor stand at the podium, in the parliament of the Jewish people in the sovereign state of the Jews, is a big thing, of major significance – a great victory for the Jewish people.”


German President Horst Kohler addressed the Knesset in his native language during a 2005 visit, though he prefaced the speech with a greeting in Hebrew.

Recommended from JTA