German Chancellor Angela Merkel will head to Israel next Saturday for talks with the country's new government just weeks before she is due to leave office, her spokeswoman said on Friday, according to AFP.
Merkel will meet Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and President Isaac Herzog during the visit, scheduled for August 28 to 30, spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer said.
The chancellor, who is due to retire from politics following September 26 elections in Germany, will also receive an honorary doctorate from the Technion Israel Institute of Technology.
Merkel called Bennett in June to congratulate him on the formation of a government and assuming office. At the time, Bennett invited Merkel to visit Israel.
While Germany and Israel are considered close allies, Merkel and former Prime MIinster Benjamin Netanyahu had some differences, mostly around the peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA).
Merkel has several times insisted that the “two-state solution” is the best way to end the Israel-PA conflict while criticizing Israel over its construction in Judea and Samaria.
At a Government-to-Government meeting in Berlin in December 2012, Merkel and Netanyahu “agreed to disagree” over Israeli construction in areas the PA claims for a future state.
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier visited Israel at the end of June, stressing support for the country and pledging to continue to fight against anti-Semitism in Germany.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)