Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Sunday welcomed visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem. Merkel, 67, has served as Germany’s leader since 2005. On October 29, 2018, Merkel announced that she would not seek reelection and would remain as chancellor until the 2021 German federal election. She stated does not plan to seek any new political office.
Prime Minister Bennett said at the start of their meeting:
Welcome to Israel, dear friend of Israel. It’s a pleasure to have you Chancellor Merkel, and your delegation.
We very much appreciate your ongoing friendship and commitment to the people of Israel. The relationship between Germany and Israel has been strong, but in your term, it has never been stronger; it has become more than just an alliance. It has become a true friendship thanks to your leadership. We’re looking forward to strengthening it even more in business relations, science, education, health, and of course, security.
Sometimes a leader makes a profound difference and I think your leadership paved the foundation for an ongoing commitment of Germany to Israel’s security and we very much appreciate it.
We certainly remember history and we look optimistically to a brighter future. My government will continue the ongoing relationship but our new government also brings a new spirit, a new spirit of goodwill.
It’s the most diverse government in Israel’s history. We have left and right, Jews and Muslims, religious and secular – and it’s working, we’re getting together pretty well. It’s also the most female government in Israel’s history, with eight ministers and I think that’s one of the reasons it’s actually working. So I wanted to thank you.
I’m sure we’re going to have a very productive meeting and on behalf of the people of Israel I want to thank you, ‘Todah Lach’ [thank you] Angela, thank you.
Chancellor Merkel said:
I would like to thank you very much for this very friendly welcome.
I consider it a great pleasure and great honor to be able to visit Israel once again at the end of my term in office and to get to know the new Israeli prime minister.
During my term in office, I have tried together with all members of my government to work hard to make the relationship between both our countries and peoples even stronger and broader, for example through inter-governmental consultations.
It is not only matters that affect our past that play a part, but also our look to a common future.
However, it is fair to say that I continue to consider it a stroke of good fortune given to us by history that after the crimes against humanity of the Shoah, it has been possible to reset and reestablish relations between Germany and Israel to the extent that we have done. I want to use this opportunity to emphasize that the topic of Israel’s security will always be of central importance and a central topic of every German government.
I look forward to the good exchanges and talks we’re going to have and I very much look forward to getting to know the members of this very diverse cabinet of yours. Compared with your government, a German coalition government seems a very simple matter.