Binyamin Netanyahu, Angela Merkel
Binyamin Netanyahu, Angela MerkelAmos Ben Gershom/GPO

A senior Israeli official said Sunday that ties with Berlin remained "good" following a report about diplomatic tensions with Germany, considered to be the Jewish state's main European ally.

"Relations between Israel and Germany are, and will continue to be, close and good," the official told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The official was responding to an article in German weekly Der Spiegel on "increasing skepticism in Berlin about German-Israeli friendship," which made headlines in Israel on Sunday.

"The perception has been growing in the German government that (Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin) Netanyahu is exploiting our friendship," Der Spiegel quoted Rolf Mutzenich, a leading member of the Social Democrats (SDP), as saying.

The SDP is a member of the coalition led by Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Der Spiegel noted that Germany had supported a European Union resolution condemning Israeli towns in Judea and Samaria as "illegal under international law" despite Netanyahu's "pleas" to German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, also an SDP member.

"It seems the statements are an internal German attempt to attack Merkel for her close relationship with Prime Minister Netanyahu," the Israeli official told AFP.

Merkel's Christian Democratic Union is generally considered to be closer to Israel than the SDP.

AFP contributed to this report.