German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum in Jerusalem Monday morning, accompanied by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
During her visit, Merkel laid a wreath at the Yizkor Tent (Hall of Remembrance) and took part in a commemoration ceremony.
"The awareness to and responsibility for preserving the memory of the Holocaust are shared by the German and Israeli governments," the chancellor stated. "By holding a first joint meeting with the Israeli government, the German government stresses its commitment to preserving the memory of the Holocaust and its determination to shape a joint future (for both countries)."
Chancellor at Hall of Remembrance (Photo: AFP)
Other officials who attended the visit included seven German government ministers, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann.
Chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate Avner Shalev said that the chancellor's visit to the memorial bears special significance. "Merkel insisted that some of her ministers join her for the ceremony. One of the issues she has emphasized was the demand for an increased activity to train teachers and educate teenagers on the Holocaust."
German, Israeli ministers to meet
Following the visit to Yad Vashem, Olmert and Merkel are scheduled to hold a meeting in Jerusalem.
At the same time, the German ministers accompanying the chancellor on her trip will hold one-on-one meeting with their Israeli counterparts and discuss ways to promote relations between the two governments in their respective fields.
Afterwards, the two governments are set to hold a joint meeting and declare the establishment of special ties between the countries on the occasion of Israel's 60th anniversary.