Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

13 Adar II 5768 - March 20, 2008 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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German Chancellor Addresses Knesset

By Eliezer Rauchberger

"The Holocaust fills us with shame. I bow my head before the victims and all those who helped them survive," said German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday, during a special Knesset plenum meeting held in honor of her visit.

Merkel addressed the Knesset in German, following a special decision by the Knesset House Committee. Several MKs decided to boycott the meeting, saying they were unable to listen to the chancellor of Germany address the Knesset in German.

The MKs who boycotted the speech were Aryeh Eldad (HaIchud HaLeumi-NRP), Yitzchak Levy (HaIchud HaLeumi-NRP), Shelly Yacimovich (Labor), Rabbi Yaakov Cohen (UTJ) and Yisrael Katz (Likud).

Before the festive plenum meeting, a ceremonial reception was held at the gates of the Knesset, followed by a luncheon in her honor attended by hundreds of invitees.

Merkel also spoke during the luncheon, saying Germany would do its best to bring back two IDF soldiers kidnapped by Hizbullah.

Merkel opened her Knesset address in Hebrew, thanking the Knesset for the honor of being permitted to speak. She also concluded the address with a smattering of Hebrew. The Chancellor said Germany and Israel would always be bound together and only if Germany recognizes its responsibility for the Holocaust would it be able to build a humane future. "Humanity grows out of taking responsibility for the past," she said.

She also spoke about the need to combat and nip in the bud every manifestation of racism or antisemitism "because they can never be allowed to find a place in Germany."

Merkel also addressed the Iranian nuclear threat, saying Germany would not hesitate to impose further sanctions on Iran. She said the Iranian nuclear plan poses a threat not only to Israel, but to the entire region and the world. "If Iran obtains atomic weapons it would have disastrous consequences," she said. "We have to prevent this." She went on to pledge her commitment to Israel's security. "Israel's security is unequivocal and not open to dispute. In this critical time we cannot issue empty remarks."

The German chancellor said her country would also work in the European Union to increase the sanctions on Iran, saying "Germany will never abandon Israel, but will always be a true partner."

Merkel took a strong stance against the Kassam rocket fire directed at southern towns, saying "terror attacks are a crime."

At the end of her address Merkel received a long, standing ovation.

PM Ehud Olmert also addressed the special plenum meeting, noting Germany's strong stand against the Iranian threat, saying Germany in particular understands this threat in light of the past.


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