“We are friends”
At the start of the joint press conference with Israel’s Prime Minister Jair Lapid on Monday, Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz looked back a few days. He had received Israel’s President Herzog only last week. The Federal Chancellor pointed out that these meetings taking place in such short succession showed that Germany and Israel were the closest of allies, strategic partners and friends. “This is a precious gift we are very grateful for. We will never forget the Shoah as a crime against humanity. Commemorating the murder of millions of European Jews is an everlasting duty for us. It is our responsibility to learn from the past and to stand up against all forms of anti-Semitism. It is a key concern for me and the entire Federal Government to strengthen and promote Jewish life,” said Scholz.
Strategic partnership and joint youth organisation
In March of this year, Federal Chancellor Scholz and the then Prime Minister Bennet agreed upon a strategic dialogue between Germany and Israel. The Federal Chancellor spoke about the plans to further expand this partnership. Germany and Israel had signed a memorandum of understanding on Sunday for establishing a German-Israeli youth organisation. The purpose of this youth organisation is to intensify exchange between young people from both countries.
On Monday the Federal Chancellor stressed the potential of the bilateral economic relations between the two countries: for example, in the form of close cooperation between Israel and Germany in the area of developing and generating new and renewable energies.
Foreign policy issues
The two heads of government also discussed the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine. This blatant breach of international law was unacceptable and the killing in Ukraine had to stop, the Federal Chancellor emphasised. “Germany, Europe, Israel – we are all standing closely by Ukraine’s side in this challenging time,” said Scholz. Further topics discussed included the Middle East peace process and the nuclear agreement with Iran. The heads of government agreed that Iran must not obtain nuclear weapons under any circumstances.
Joint visit to a memorial
In the afternoon, the two heads of government visited the memorial and education centre “House of the Wannsee Conference” in Berlin together. The Federal Chancellor pointed out that this place was a very special reminder that we must not forget the victims of the Shoah and the horrors of this crime against humanity. Together with Jair Lapid, Olaf Scholz spoke to Holocaust survivors at the memorial. The Federal Chancellor explained with great urgency “that we feel obliged to oppose all forms of anti-Semitism, for it is the foundation of this crime, and it is not acceptable if anti-Semitic propaganda is promoted in Germany or other countries”.