German Chancellor Angela Merkel landed in Israel Monday night, bringing with her a retinue of 16 government ministers. Merkel will be in Israel through Tuesday night.
Merkel met on Monday night with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, discussing a range of issues, including Iran and the negotiation process between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
Speaking before the meeting, Netanyahu expressed israel's appreciation for Merkel's visit. “I welcome Chancellor Merkel in the name of the Knesset and of all Israeli citizens,” Netanyahu said. “Merkel is a friend of Israel, and has many times spoken out against boycotts. This deserves the appreciation of all Israelis,” Netanyahu said.
Israeli officials said that they hoped that Merkel will speak out clearly against boycotts against Israel by European groups.
Officials in Merkel's delegation said that she planned to reiterate Germany's support for Israel. “Germany is concerned over Israel because of Germany's own past and Israel's present,” the officials said.
President Shimon Peres on Tuesday will award Merkel with the Presidential Medal, Israel's highest civilian honor. The Medal will be awarded for Merkel's “unceasing and uncompromising support of Israel's security, and advancing education against anti-Semitism and racism,” Peres' office said.