Israeli President Isaac Herzog on Monday visited Kibbutz Be’eri together with President of Germany, Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
Kibbutz Be'eri saw many of its members murdered and kidnapped, and many buildings destroyed, in the massive attack by Hamas on October 7.
The two presidents met with residents of the kibbutz, survivors of the massacre, and toured some of the ruins of houses, buildings, and business destroyed in the attack.
In their statements following the tour, President Steinmeier announced that the German Parliament had allocated €7m to rebuild the Kibbutz Be’eri art gallery, which was utterly destroyed in the attack.
Speaking in front of the ruins of the gallery, President Herzog said: "Mr. President, thank you very much for coming. You, my dear friend Frank, and Elke, are dear friends of Michal and mine, and of the State of Israel and the Jewish people."
"We’re extremely grateful for your moral clarity, for your strong stance with the people of Israel, with the people of this region, with the people of Be’eri - as you came here to see the horrors that have befallen our nation on 7 October and following that."
"There's nothing more symbolic than the gallery in Be’eri, because amidst the enormous challenges in the region, the people of Be’eri decided that there will be a gallery, an art gallery that will distribute light, spirit, emotions, love, and affection - with Israeli artists from all over Israel. They have shown 400 exhibits for over 37 years.
"We have a dream, Mr. President, to rebuild this place as part of rebuilding the entire Kibbutz Be’eri and the entire region. And we will rebuild and we will go back and we will wake up as a nation as a lion, to go back and regain and rebuild these places, so that they will flourish, and send a message of hope and peace to the entire world."
President Steinmeier said: "I'm proud and let me express my gratitude that we were invited by the President and his wife to Israel, and we are moved that he brought us here to Be’eri."
"In Germany we were able to listen to the news on 7 October. We were watching the TV, we saw the pictures - and it was easy to imagine what has happened here. But to be here, right in this place, is different. You know the ruins behind us, they are the silent witness of what had happened here. And it's not easy to find the words to describe what we heard from those who have the knowledge and who were witnessing the deeds, the murders, the killings, the rapes by Hamas here on 7 October.
"We are here in the kibbutz and the Kibbutz movement is in a certain way linked to Europe and especially to Germany. This kibbutz in Be’eri was founded by Jews from Germany, from Hungary, and from the former Czechoslovakia - and so therefore, the kibbutzim are part of the history and they're representing the soul of Israel. And being here means that we are able to witness how much this soul of Israel was touched and destroyed by the attack of Hamas on Israeli people and the Kibbutz of Be’eri and the neighboring Kibbutzim close by.
"I think what we have to do is to think about the next months, next years, when people are returning to the Kibbutz of Be’eri, and I think they need a sort of anchor. And therefore, the President and I, we were deciding to take the patronage for the rebuilding of the art gallery, and the convening house in which the people in peaceful times were gathering every day."
"I'm very grateful that the State Secretary of our Ministry for Construction is with us and that the Ministry is cooperating with their counterparts here in Israel. I'm grateful with regard to the German Parliament which has announced in the next year to give us 7 million Euros for the rebuilding of the art gallery and the convening center and in addition to that, I hope that we create conditions that young people, craftsmen from Germany and from Israel, are meeting here to cooperate very closely in this rebuilding process.
"I hope that even in these days of mourning, in these days in which we are thinking about the hostages, which we are still waiting for, which are still in the Gaza Strip. Even in these days we’re thinking to the future and we'll be able to give reasons that people from Be’eri are coming back, and this place will be again, very vivid place for Israelis here in the south of Israel."