Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said Israel appreciates Germany's long-lasting friendship and commitment to Israel.
Bennett was speaking at the start of his meeting with outgoing German chancellor Angela Merkel in Jerusalem on Sunday.
"The bilateral relations during your tenure at chancellor became stronger than ever and transformed into a true friendship, thanks to your leadership," Bennett told Merkel
The German Chancellor arrived late Saturday night for her eighth and final visit after more than16 years in office with unwavering support for Israel.
Germany is Israel's largest trading partner in Europe and the German government has provided solid support to Israel during wars and diplomatic crises.
This marks Merkel's first visit to Israel since Prime Minister Naftali Bennett took office earlier this year, and her last as chancellor after the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) came ahead of her CDU/CSU conservative bloc in this year's German national election.
The bilateral relations were characterized by near unwavering support for Israel. Following an inconclusive election last month, her eventual successor to be determined in lengthy coalition talks is not expected to change that approach.
Although part of her farewell tour, Merkel's last visit to Jerusalem was described as a working visit and will include talks on ongoing bilateral issues including Iran's nuclear ambitions.
Her two-day trip will include a meeting with Bennett, who will then accompany the outgoing chancellor to the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial, and to meetings with Israeli high-tech industry leaders.
In addition to meeting the prime minister, Merkel is scheduled to meet with President Isaac Herzog and Foreign Minister and Alternate Prime Minister Yair Lapid.
The Israeli government will host the outgoing chancellor in its weekly meeting on Sunday, to celebrate the strong ties forged between the two countries during Merkel's tenure. Bennett will express Israel's appreciation of Germany's steadfast support and its role in setting EU's pro-Israel policy and its commitment to the country's security.
No meeting has been announced between Merkel and former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The German leader will also receive an honorary doctorate from Haifa's Technion Institute and participate in a panel discussion at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv.
Republished with permission from i24NEWS
First published: 09:34, 10.10.21