(JNS.org) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu congratulated German Chancellor Angela Merkel Sunday after she secured a fourth term as the country’s leader.
“Congratulations to Angela #Merkel, a true friend of Israel, on her re-election as Chancellor of Germany,” Netanyahu tweeted.
Merkel’s conservative bloc of Christian Democrats and the Bavarian Christian Social Union earned a combined 33 percent of the vote, with the center-left Social Democratic Party finishing second with 20.5 percent.
Meanwhile, according to exit polls, the far-right and anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) party garnered around 13 percent of the vote, coming in third. AfD’s rise prompted several Jewish organizations to express alarm.
German Central Council of Jews President Josef Schuster noted AfD “tolerates far-right thoughts and agitates against minorities.”
Charlotte Knobloch, chairperson of the Munich Jewish community and a former president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, said AfD’s electoral showing is a “nightmare come true,” The Times of Israel reported.
The Anti-Defamation League called AfD’s performance a “disturbing milestone,” saying the party’s leaders “have made anti-Semitic statements and played down the evil of the Nazi regime.”
Conversely, Israeli Member of Knesset Yehuda Glick (Likud) defended the far-right party, tweeting that part leader Frauke Petry “is operating intensively [to remove from the AfD] anyone suspected of anti-Semitism.”