Chancellor Angela Merkel with PM NaftalI Bennett
Chancellor Angela Merkel with PM NaftalI BennettAmos Ben Gershom/ GPO

Israeli Prime Minister NaftaIi Bennett on Sunday morning met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, after which Merkel joined a meeting of the Israeli government.

During the meeting, Bennett raised the issue of the Iranian threat, warning, "During these days, the world is sitting and waiting for Tehran's decision regarding whether or not to return to the negotiating table in Vienna and to the rejoin the JCPOA nuclear agreement."

"Unfortunately, in the past three years the Iranians have made an enormous leap forward in their ability to enrich uranium. The Iranian nuclear program is at a more advanced stage than it ever was. The world is waiting, the Iranians are taking their time, and the centrifuges are spinning.

"The responsibility on Israel's shoulders is to ensure - with deeds, not with speeches - that Iran will not have a nuclear weapon. Ever. A nuclear weapon in the hands of such a violent and extremist government is one that will change the face of the region and the face of the world. For us, that's not a strategic problem, it's an existential issue.

"We are a country which works for the good of its citizens, but which also aspires to contribute to the world. During these days, for example, Israel is coming out slowly from the Delta wave of coronavirus, after an enormous booster shot campaign, while its economy remained open throughout the entire period. We have accumulated a lot of experience and knowledge - practical knowledge that saves lives - and we are sharing this knowledge with the world, in every way possible."

Bennett continued: "I am utilizing the fact that this is a work visit for all intents and purposes, and am asking that the ministers pay special attention to issues which need to be advanced as part of mutual work between the two governments, including aiding Holocaust survivors, tightening our economic ties, especially in the fields of innovation and protecting the earth's future, and strengthening the connection between the nations, especially the younger generation, the generation of the future, via youth delegations."

He added, "The Chancellor has mentioned that there are certain obstacles, so I am instructing the relevant government ministers to find a quick solution to this issue. Now, when it is easier to travel, we want to see very enthusiastic travel between the two countries."