Germany's Merkel visits Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem


On the topic of the Nation-State law, Merkel expressed her concern that the legislation made her anxious about the rights of minorities; however, she added that she supported Israel as a Jewish state and that, in order to reach a peaceful solution, the Palestinians would have to accept it as such.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel made clear her opposition to Iran's acquisition of nuclear weapons on Thursday during a meeting with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin.

Netanyahu has repeatedly warned against Iran's nuclear ambitions and has said he would prevent the Islamic Republic entrenching in Syria and arming Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas and supporting Islamist Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

"From this comes the everlasting responsibility of Germany to remember this crime and to oppose anti-Semitism, xenophobia, hatred and violence", she said, reading the message she wrote in the memorial s guest book.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrived in Israel on Wednesday for the latest in a series of joint government consultations highlighting the countries' close bond seven decades after the Holocaust, even as recent developments have tested the tight ties.

Route 1 was closed to traffic as Merkel rode to Jerusalem, and there was tight security at the King David Hotel - where world leaders stay on visits to the city - with streets closed off, police manning barricades and a helicopter circling overhead.

Merkel, whose rapport with Netanyahu has been cool at times, maintains that Israel will be best served by keeping the Iranian nuclear deal intact, contradicting Netanyahu's demand that it be scrapped and stiff sanctions imposed instead.

Merkel began the day with a visit to Israel s Holocaust memorial in the hills above Jerusalem.

From there, she went to a different ceremony in Jerusalem where she was granted an honorary doctorate from Haifa University and answered questions from local students.

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Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer said: "Republicans knew he was very flawed, but once he was nominated, it became a steam roller". But Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, claimed the confrontation would turn out to his party's advantage.

Germany, like other signatories to the deal, says it is working as intended by preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons for now.

Netanyahu has urged European nations to follow the lead of US President Donald Trump and withdraw from the accord with his country's main enemy.

Merkel had dinner on Wednesday night with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Prime Minister's Residence.

There was however no shortage of controversy in the run up to the visit.

Netanyahu's criticism of Europe related to Iran has been especially strong, and last week at the UN General Assembly he accused European Union nations of "appeasement".

Felix Klein, who heads the German government's fight against anti-Semitism, will be part of the delegation. Fears over a resurgence in anti-Semitism in Germany were also a topic for discussion.

Germany has recently joined calls against Israel's planned destruction of a Bedouin village in the West Bank.

Merkel has also continued to champion the traditional approach to Middle East peacemaking, calling for the establishment of a Palestinian state and for Israel to refrain from taking unilateral steps, such as settlement construction, that could undermine peace prospects.