Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met on Sunday with visiting German President Dr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
During the meeting, Netanyahu hailed the unique alliance between Germany and Israel.
"We have a unique partnership, a unique alliance. I think it’s born of a special historic perspective, understanding of the importance of ensuring that we secure a future of peace and prosperity for Israel. This means, obviously, the creation of a Jewish state, of an army capable of defending ourselves with soldiers who are courageous and commanders who are equally courageous, with moral standards second-to-none,” said Netanyahu.
“Equally we have developed a great economic partnership. We are two advanced technological societies. We have much to gain by seizing the future together, and I don’t think we need to recommend German know-how to Israelis, nor do we need to recommend Israeli innovation to Germans. We understand both the advantages of progress,” he added.
Netanyahu expressed Israel’s desire to achieve peace in the region, but also noted that the Palestinian Authority (PA) incites against Israel and teaches its children to hate Jews.
“We would like to seize the future for peace as well. This is something that has been achieved partly with two of our neighbors. We’d like to complete the circle of peace, but we recognize that for there to be peace, we have to educate our children for peace. We do so in Israel. I wish that the same were true of the Palestinian Authority. Just a few weeks ago, the Fatah Facebook praised the Munich massacre as a heroic act. It wasn’t – and praising it is not a heroic act and it goes against the possibilities of peace,” he said.
“What we’d like to see is a change and the change would come from international demand for accountability from the Palestinian Authority, and ask them to back their words outside with words inside. That is: Teach their children peace. Peace is what we seek and peace is what we hope we can get with your help and the help of other leaders who will ask such a change of heart that is so important for our common future."
The visit is Steinmeier's first to Israel since taking up the post of president in March, although he has visited the region before while serving as foreign minister.
It comes after Netanyahu late last month cancelled a meeting with German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, after the minister met members of the leftist organizations Breaking the Silence and B’Tselem a day after Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Gabriel told journalists in Jerusalem after the snub he regretted Netanyahu's decision, but also said he did not think it would badly impact relations between the two countries.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel subsequently backed Gabriel, saying she often meets civil society groups during her foreign travels and adding the dispute "changes nothing in our conviction that support for the state of Israel is part of our raison d'etat."