Merkel makes historic Knesset address


Germany’s chancellor, in a historic address to the Knesset, said Israel and Germany will always be linked by the Holocaust.

“The Shoah fills us Germans with shame,” Angela Merkel said Tuesday in her speech, delivered in German. “I bow to the victims. I bow to the survivors and to all those who helped them survive.”


Merkel, who thanked the Knesset for allowing her to speak in her native tongue, is the first German head of government to address the Israeli Parliament.

She spoke of Iran’s nascent nuclear program, saying it is a danger to regional security and that the Iranian president’s threats to Israel are cause for concern.

“It’s not the world that must prove to Iran that Iran is building the nuclear bomb,” she said. “Iran must convince the world it does not want the nuclear bomb.”

Some Knesset members skipped the speech because of its delivery in German.

Before Merkel spoke, opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu acknowledged their absences. “Some Knesset members are not here today; their pain is understandable,” Netanyahu said.

Merkel began her Knesset visit by having lunch with Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik. Merkel told Itzik Germany would work to return two Israeli soldiers kidnapped by Hezbollah. Germany has mediated past prisoner-exchange deals with Israel in the past.

Recommended from JTA