Daily Israel Report

Security Fears Behind Joint German-Israeli Cabinet Meeting

The threat of a nuclear Iran and the purchase of a German submarine top the agenda at a historic meeting between Germany and Israel in Berlin.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 1/18/2010, 4:36 PM / Last Update: 1/18/2010, 4:51 PM

Israel news photo

The threat of a nuclear Iran to regional security is at the top of the agenda in a historic meeting Monday between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and German Chancellor Angela Merkel and their respective cabinets in Berlin.

Merkel said at a joint press conference that time is running out to impose severe sanctions on Iran in an effort to prevent it from becoming a nuclear power.

It is the first time the two governments have met together on German soil and follows by several months last year’s first-ever joint meeting in Israel. Germany officials noted that the country rarely holds joint cabinet sessions except with countries with which it has very close relations. Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman (Yisrael Beiteinu) and Defense Minister Ehud Barak were among the leading Israeli ministers to attend.

Prime Minister Netanyahu’s spokesman Mark Regev said that talks would focus on “threats to regional security,” mainly Iran: "We are focused on how to strengthen the relationship in order for there to be tangible cooperation today and in the future."

The probable purchase by Israel of a sixth Dolphin-class diesel submarine from Germany is also expected to be discussed. Israel already has purchased five of the vessels, three of them in operation and two of them on order. The submarines are believed to have the capacity of launching missiles.

Monday’s meeting was postponed from last November, when Prime Minister Netanyahu suffered a minor viral infection.