Germanys Merkel tells Israel: We have strong friendship

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in Israel that her country and Israel enjoy a “very strong friendship.”

Merkel arrived in the country Feb. 24 with nearly her entire Cabinet, which met the following day with their Israeli counterparts. The German delegation was in Israel for a 24-hour visit.

Despite German news reports in recent days indicating that Israel and Germany are at a low point in their relationship, Merkel told reporters in German, “We have come here with almost the whole of our new government, and we wanted to show you in this way that this is indeed a very strong friendship.”

Germany has stood “shoulder to shoulder” with Israel over the past five decades, Merkel said, and was working for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israeli President Shimon Peres presented Merkel with the Presidential Medal of Distinction, Israel’s highest civilian award, on Feb. 25. — jta