Germany and Israel to Hold Joint Cabinet Session

Netanyahu to meet with Chancellor Merkel, tour Holocaust memorial and visit the Jewish musuem in Berlin.

BERLIN - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and senior ministers in his cabinet are expected in Berlin Monday for the annual meeting between the governments of Germany and Israel. The meeting will be held in the office of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The annual meeting began more than two years ago and signifies the special relationship that exists between the two countries 60 years after the establishment of the state of Israel.

Merkel traveled to Israel at the head of a ministerial visit in March 2008, when she addressed the Knesset.

Netanyahu had been scheduled to travel to Berlin in late November, but the trip was canceled due to illness.

Prior to the meeting, set for noon Monday, Netanyahu and Merkel are expected to tour a memorial situated near the Brandenburg Gate in honor of European Jewry murdered during the Holocaust.

The prime minister is also expected to visit the Jewish Museum in Berlin and to meet with the speaker of the Bundestag.

Bolstering bilateral relations as well as strengthening security, cultural and scientific relations between the two countries are some of the topics on the agenda.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is expected to feature strongly in the talks, in view of Iran's rejection of Western demand to halt its uranium enrichment program.

Merkel has called for strong sanctions against Iran, even though Germany remains the largest trading partner of the Islamic Republic.