Bennett Alongside Germany's Scholz: Israel Stands With the People of Ukraine

During the German chancellor's first visit to Israel, Bennett announces 'a new strategic partnership' between the countries, and says the leaders discussed the Iran nuclear talks

Jonathan Lis
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German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, on Wednesday.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, on Wednesday.Credit: Kobi Gideon / Government Press Office
Jonathan Lis

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said Wednesday that Israel stands with the people of Ukraine during German Chancellor Olaf Scholz's visit to Israel, amid the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine.

"We have agreed on creating a new strategic partnership between Israel and Germany," Bennett said, calling it a "big upgrade" to the countries' relations.

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Turning to Scholz, Bennet said: "You come here during a very fateful, sensitive time." The Israeli premier said he spoke with Scholz about the "situation in Ukraine [and] our duty as leaders to do everything to stop the bloodshed."

Bennett also mentioned the Iran nuclear talks, saying that Israel has a responsibility to ensure that Iran does not acquire nuclear weapons.

Chancellor Scholz acknowledged Israel's concerns over Iran, but said the talks in Vienna "should not be postponed or suspended." Scholz also invited the entire Israeli cabinet to Berlin, praising the beginning of a "strategic dialogue between Germany and Israel."

The developments in Vienna were the center of Scholz and Bennett's meeting as the parties to the 2015 nuclear pact get closer to reviving the accord. Bennett made it clear to Scholz that Israel is preparing for multiple scenario's surrounding Iran's nuclear program, stressing that the sanctions period should be extended, some of which will expire as early as 2025. 

Later on Wendsady, Scholz also met with Foreign Minister Yair Lapid. "The fact you're here in such chaotic times is a proof that the friendship between our countries is solid," Lapid told Scholz.  

Ahead of his talk with Bennett, Scholz visited the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem during his inaugural trip.

"We will never forget the suffering of millions and the victims!" Scholz wrote in German in the Yad Vashem visitors book. The mass killing of Jews "conceived, planned and executed by Germans" in World War II gives "every German government a perpetual responsibility for the security of the State of Israel and the protection of Jewish life," he wrote.

Bennett said the Holocaust was a fundamental part of the relations between Germany and Israel, but that even with this wound from the past the countries had established strong ties.

Both leaders are relatively new to office after many years of government led by Angela Merkel in Germany and Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel.

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