Israel’s president in the Bundestag: “Proud of the partnership with Germany”

Status: 06.09.2022 10:33

Israeli President Herzog gave a speech in the Bundestag as part of his trip to Germany. There he thanked for the support from his country and recalled the Holocaust.

In a speech in the Bundestag, Israeli President Izchak Herzog expressed his gratitude and respect for Germany’s support for his country. “The State of Israel is proud of its partnership with Germany,” Herzog told the Bundestag plenary in Berlin. “We really appreciate Germany’s contribution to Israel’s security and success.” On the basis of common memory of the Holocaust, the two countries could shape a common future.

“The future belongs to us, it must belong to both of us,” Herzog said in front of the members of parliament and the heads of Germany’s constitutional bodies. “Only together can we give meaning to the commemoration.” In the case of Israel, this also includes “the oath of allegiance to the freedom and security of the State of Israel and the welfare of the Jewish people”.

“The Jewish people do not forget”

Herzog emphasized that the Holocaust will always play a central role in German-Israeli relations – “the Jewish people do not forget it,” he said. At the same time, he had great respect for the development of Germany after the Second World War. Germany has become “one of the most important leaders of the free world” and is once again an “engine of spirit and culture”.

Herzog thanked him expressly for the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Olympic assassination the day before. “Thank you for the moving ceremony yesterday,” he said. By “taking responsibility”, Germany is making a contribution to “some alleviation of the pain of the relatives”.

In January 2020, Herzog’s predecessor Reuven Rivlin was the last Israeli president to address the Bundestag.

Visit as part of the commemoration of the Olympic attack

The focus of the Israeli president’s visit so far has been the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Munich Olympics attack. Eleven Israeli athletes were killed in 1972. At the central commemoration of the 50th anniversary at the Fürstenfeldbruck airbase, Federal President Steinmeier had asked for forgiveness for the lack of protection of the Israeli athletes and the inadequate training after the attack.

Bundestag President Bärbel Bas (SPD) also asked for forgiveness in his opening speech at the plenary session today. “I am pleased that the federal government and the families of the victims have reached an agreement,” Bas said. “No amount of compensation can undo these murders or heal the deep wounds of loved ones.” However, the compensation agreement means “an acknowledgment of your suffering,” she told the bereaved. “Fifty years after the horrific attack, this is a belated but important sign of accountability.”

Bas also lamented the ongoing anti-Semitism in Germany. “Even today, there is hatred directed against Jews and against Israel,” she said. “It is a disgrace that Jewish or Israeli institutions are only safe with police protection, that anti-Israel demonstrations are incited, that Israel is wished dead on social networks.” She added: “We all need to take decisive action against this hatred and hate speech. With every means at our disposal.”

Visit to Steinmeier in Bergen-Belsen

After his speech in the Bundestag, Herzog participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin with Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier. The two presidents then visit the former Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. Herzog’s father, former Israeli President Chaim Herzog, was one of the camp’s liberators in April 1945 while an officer in the ranks of the British forces.

More than 52,000 concentration camp inmates and around 20,000 prisoners of war died there during the Nazi regime, including the Jewish girl Anne Frank, whose diary became world famous.

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