Knesset Speaker to German Leader: Our Lives Depend on You

Merkel tells Knesset: we must prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons; the Shoah fills us Germans with shame.

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Gil Ronen,

Addressing German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the Knesset, Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik (Labor) said: "on behalf of the State of Israel, I call on you, I ask you, when you return home to Germany, to stand at the head of the European camp that will do everything necessary to prevent Iran from creating a [nuclear] bomb.  Do not deny us this request.

"Mrs. Merkel," she said, "our lives depend on your intensive efforts.  If you fail, if we fail, no one will be able ever again to claim innocence… The world leaders say to us:  'Don't worry!  They won't manage it; they won't succeed in building weapons of mass destruction.  It will take another three years, or four – don't worry.' Our friends from Germany – we are worried. Only sixty, seventy years after that bitter experience, we are not willing to take risks.  We cannot calm down when we are told: They won't manage to do it and it will take a long time, don't worry.  We have had very bitter experience, so did you."

The Knesset Speaker added: "On behalf of the millions of children in Israel and their mothers, on behalf of the fathers who do not want war, I turn to you again and ask you: Rise up and take action, do not remain silent!"

Merkel: Israel's Security is 'non-negotiable'
Merkel did not remain silent, at least while she was in the Knesset. "If Iran were to obtain nuclear weapons, it would have disastrous consequences," she said in her speech to the Knesset Tuesday. "We have to prevent this."

In the speech, which was given in German, Merkel said Germany would always be committed to Israel's security, particularly in view of growing threats from Iran.

"Especially in this place," she said, "I emphasize: Every German government and every chancello
Merkel will not meeting PA Arab leaders during her current trip to Israel.
r before me was committed to the special responsibility Germany has for Israel's security. This historic responsibility is part of my country's fundamental policy. It means that for me, as a German chancellor, Israel's security is non-negotiable."

'I bow before the survivors'
Merkel began her speech with a Hebrew sentence, thanking the Knesset for giving her the "great honor" of addressing it in German. She immediately paid tribute to those killed by Nazi Germany during World War II.

"The mass murder of six million Jews, carried out in the name of Germany, has brought indescribable suffering to the Jewish people, Europe and the entire world," she said.
Merkel expressed support for a "two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict," but also said Israel does not need unsolicited advice from outsiders.

Using the Hebrew word for the Holocaust, Merkel added: "The Shoah fills us Germans with shame. I bow before the victims. I bow before the survivors and before all those who helped them survive."
 
Merkel, who will not meeting PA Arab leaders during her current trip to Israel, expressed support for a "two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict," but also said Israel does not need unsolicited advice from outsiders.

Several Knesset Members refused to attend the occasion, in protest of the fact that Merkel was given the right to address the Knesset in German. Still, About 1,000 guests listened to Merkel, including Holocaust survivors, religious leaders, former Israeli presidents and residents of Sderot.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert praised Merkel for what he called her "strong and determined position against the horrific calls from the president of Iran to wipe Israel off the map and against Teheran's trickery and deceit."

Before Merkel addressed the plenum, opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu said although German society was currently fighting against anti-Semitism and neo-Nazism, "the scars of the past are very deep and can't be treated in a single generation, if they can be treated at all."