German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives in Israel on Sunday on a farewell visit after 16 years.
Prime Minister Naphtali Bennett and Merkel said they would discuss “regional threats and challenges, especially the Iranian nuclear issue” and Israel’s maintenance of “strength in all fields.”
Merkel, who is preparing to retire from politics, is visiting Israel as the eighth and final president.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry said he arrived late on Saturday.
Although Merkel had originally planned to arrive in August, she delayed her trip amid a tumultuous exodus from the United States and Allies, including Germans, from Afghanistan.
The 67-year-old trainee physicist is seeking a doctoral degree from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa.
Bennett’s office said he would visit the Yat Washem Holocaust Memorial and meet with Israeli technology leaders.
Benjamin Netanyahu, Benjamin Netanyahu’s 12-year term as prime minister, will be the guest of honor at the inauguration of Bennett.
Merkel congratulated Bennett on his inauguration in June, saying that Germany and Israel “are united by a unique friendship that we want to further strengthen.”
Merkel’s administration has argued for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
But he emphasized the security of Israel as a top priority of German foreign policy.
In the decades after World War II, Germany and Israel established strong diplomatic relations, and the Jewish state of Berlin was determined to repent for the Holocaust.
In 2008, in a historic speech, Merkel appeared before the Israeli parliament to make amends on behalf of the German people.
In May, her administration backed Israel’s “right to self-defense.”
Palestinian health officials say 260 people, including militants, have been killed in Israeli attacks in Gaza.
Thirteen people, including one soldier, were killed in Israel, according to the Israeli police and military.
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Lawyers for the Palestinians have called on Germany to end Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which began in 1967.
More than 600,000 Israeli settlers have migrated to the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which Palestinians hope will become part of a future state.
Israel has besieged two million Gaza residents since the Islamic State of Hamas seized control in 2007.
Omar Shakir, Palestinian director of Israel and Human Rights Watch, criticized Israel’s 54 years of occupation as “temporary”.
“Maintaining this myth has allowed the Merkel government to avoid dealing with the reality of apartheid and the persecution of millions of Palestinians,” he said in a statement.
“The new German government must put human rights at the center of Israeli and Palestinian policy,” he added.
After Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union performed poorly in last month’s election, the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) party appears poised to lead a new coalition as negotiations continue.
A rare difference between Germany and Israel is that Berlin signed an agreement to lift sanctions on Iran in exchange for increased monitoring of the 2015 nuclear program.
Israel is seeking to renew the agreement after German, US and other signatories withdraw from US President Donald Trump’s 2018.
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and published by Syndicate Feed.)