(October 4, 2018 / European Jewish Press) JERUSALEM—German Chancellor Angela Merkel opened her two-day visit to Israel, the first since 2015, at Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center on Thursday morning, after arriving in the country on Wednesday evening.
After touring the Hall of Names, she placed a wreath in the Hall of Remembrance, in memory of the 6 million Jews that perished in the Holocaust.
Before leaving she signed the guestbook: “80 years ago, on Kristallnacht, the Jews in Germany suffered from hatred and violence that the world did not know was possible. What came later is a crime that has no equal—the teardown of civilization—the Holocaust. Since then, Germany has the responsibility to remember that crime, and to combat Anti-Semitism, Xenophobia, violence and hatred,” she wrote.
Merkel had dinner on Wednesday night with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Prime Minister’s Residence.
After Yad Vashem, the chancellor will visit the Israel Museum, where she will be awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Haifa. She will also review an exhibition of innovation at the museum, where a “roundtable” will be held with Israeli businessmen and Prime Minister Netanyahu.
At 12:30 p.m., Merkel will arrive for lunch at the residence of President Reuven Rivlin, and at 14:00 she will meet again with Netanyahu. After the meeting, the two will hold a joint press conference. Merkel is scheduled to fly back to Germany in the evening.
During the visit, the chancellor and 13 German government ministers will hold an intergovernmental meeting (G2G) with their Israeli counterparts. This will be the seventh such meeting in the last decade.
The inter-governmental consultations will focus – inter alia – on security, scientific, economic, cultural and cyber cooperation. There will also be a series of discussions and the signing of Memorandums of Understanding the goal of which is to strengthen bilateral relations.
Chancellor Merkel will be accompanied by Federal Minister of Finance Olaf Scholz; Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas; Federal Minister of the Interior, Building and Community Horst Seehofer; Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Peter Altmaier; Federal Minister of Justice and Consumer Protection Katarina Barley; Federal Minister of Labor and Social Affairs Hubertus Heil; Federal Minister of food and Agriculture Julia Klockner; Federal Minister for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth Franziska Giffey; Federal Minister of Transport and Digital Infrastructure Andreas Scheuer; Parliamentary State Secretary at the Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter; Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister of Education and Research Thomas Rachel; Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Gerd Muller; Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media Monika Grutters and Anti-Semitism Commission Felix Klein.