Speech at the Special Knesset Session in Honor of the Chancellor
President of Israel, Mr. Shimon Peres
Photo by GPO
Madam Speaker of the Knesset, Ms. Dalia Itzik
The Honorable Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, Madam Angela Merkel,
The Honorable Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Ms. Dorit Beinish,
Members of Knesset,
Distinguished Guests and Dear Friends,
session of the Knesset of Israel is honoring you, Madam Chancellor,
as the courageous and outstanding leader of your people, as
an exceptionally moral person, and as a steadfast and loyal
friend to the Jewish people and the State of Israel. This is
not the first time we have been privileged to host you in the
State of Israel with feelings of respect and appreciation.
our country and to the city of Jerusalem, the eternal capital
of our people; the city about which the poet Heinrich Heine
wrote in his poem “Yehuda Halevi” the very Jewish
“Even in the dawn of his childhood
All his love existed
All his heart shuddered to hear
The word ‘Jerusalem’…”
the deep bonds of friendship between Germany and Israel are
not normal relations between two nations. They carry with them
the oppressive weight of the historic memory to which our peoples
are obligated, but it is because of this that they have such
power, sensitivity and content which has no equal in any other
place or between two sovereign nations in the international
relations” are an example of rising above the gloomy
and dark remnants without denying them, and of the human ability
to overcome and build a stable bridge above the chasms.
of Israel was established sixty years ago in the shadow of
the Holocaust which consumed one third of our people. A few
years later, its establishment sowed the first seed from which
grew and flourished the renewed friendship between our peoples,
against all odds. Two great leaders from opposite sides of
the abyss, David Ben-Gurion and Konrad Adenauer, dared to chance
the unbelievable, and plant the tender seedling in the burned
ashes from which it seemed nothing would ever grow.
issue of contact with West Germany was first brought before
the Knesset of Israel for discussion – the very same
Knesset in which you, Madam, are the guest of honor today – the
rafters of the Knesset shook and there was a storm and uproar,
and justly so, as it had never stormed and raged before or
since. However, the seed planted then, in 1952, cleaved, took
root and grew, and changed the arid and barren landscape, saturated
with pain and grief, which remained between our peoples.
commitment to remember and learn, and to fight uncompromisingly
against any attempt to deny and cause to forget is the foundation
on which our relations were established and shaped.
visit to the State of Israel allows us to discuss directly,
at the highest level, the range of essential bilateral subjects
between our countries and between the State of Israel and the
European Union, and especially the problem of the nuclearization
of Iran and the painful matter of our kidnapped and missing
soldiers, with regard to which your people are making inestimable
I would like,
Madam Chancellor, to praise your strong and determined stand
against the disgraceful call by Iran’s president to erase
the State of Israel from the map, and against Tehran’s
fraudulent and deceptive tactics to achieve nuclear weapons.
Who else could understand how deeply the despicable anti-Semitic
calls of the Holocaust denier who stands that the head of the
Iranian regime touch the most sensitive nerve of our people’s
consciousness, and how important your resolute stance and that
of Germany is in this matter.
We were especially
touched by your statement at the beginning of the week that
a blow against the security of Israel is a blow against Germany’s
security. The Jewish people are not as helpless as we were
in the past, and the State of Israel will know how to defend
itself against any threat and aggression. Nevertheless, the
Iranian problem exceeds the boundaries of the State of Israel,
and presents a serious danger to the stability of the entire
Middle East and to world peace.
I have no
doubt that your stance and that of your Government have contributed
to the strengthening of the international front against Iran’s
unrestrained pretension. However, many additional efforts are
still needed to ensure that other important countries adopt
the position of Germany and the countries which stand at the
head of the campaign, to avert Iran from its dangerous path.
of your visit is the establishment of the German-Israeli inter-governmental
consultation forum, a forum the likes of which your Government
had only with a limited number of European countries. We profoundly
appreciate this and see it as a priceless and extremely important
gift to the sixty-year-old State of Israel, and it will help
further strengthen our ties and relations.
of Nazi rule and the Holocaust overshadowed, but did not erase
generations of vibrant Jewish life and the creation of a magnificent
Jewish culture on German soil. The integration and contribution
by our people to the economy, academia, science, judiciary,
medicine, sport, poetry, music, art and all other cultural
fields in the life of your country, as in the entire world,
are engraved in history.
My hope and
belief is that through the “special relations” between
our countries, and by establishing the “consultation
forum”, we are adding and writing the most important
pages to a new chapter, and even if its roots can never be
removed from the dark chapters, its peak has already ascended
into clear skies.
loyal and dear friends, welcome to our home. Welcome to the
State of Israel.