Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Federal Republic of Germany Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Wednesday morning visited the Yad Vashem Holocaust History Center, together with Yad Vashem Chairman Dani Dayan.
Scholz’s visit was planned before Russia invaded Ukraine, seven days ago. The German Chancellor told the Israeli PM that “despite the current situation in the world, I’ve decided to pay this visit now and it was the right thing to do.”
Scholz reaffirmed Germany’s commitment to Israel’s security, saying, “You can rely on it. Germany will continue to be steadfast at Israel’s side.”
Scholz also said that Israel and Germany were available to work on peace talks between Russia and Ukraine. “We’re seriously concerned about how this conflict is going to develop,” he said. “Of course, the issue now is that diplomacy gets another big chance.”
He called on Russia to cease all hostilities immediately: “Attacks on civilian infrastructure and civilians must stop,” he stressed.
Scholz’s coalition government has reversed Germany’s ban on sending weapons into conflict zones following the Russian invasion.
PM Bennett told his guest: “The Holocaust, the systematic annihilation of Jews, is the wound that forms the basis of ties between Germany and Israel. From this wound, we have built significant and steadfast relations.
“Mr. Chancellor, even today, 80 years after the war, there is no Jew who does not carry within him the memory of his six million brothers and sisters – men, women, and children – who perished in the camps. Even today, in a strong and prosperous state, a state of warmth and happiness, in each one of us, even several generations later, there is a deep sadness that does not disappear.
“Mr. Chancellor, I would like to thank you for your visit here and your commitment to the memory of the Holocaust and the Jewish people.”