Merkel at Yad Vashem: 'Holocaust a crime unlike any other'
German chancellor begins second day in Israel with visit to the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Jerusalem, writing in the guest book: 'Germany has a responsibility to remember this crime and fight anti-Semitism, xenophobia and hatred in general.'
Some 75 years after the extermination of Europe's Jews by the Nazis, German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum on Thursday morning.
Merkel toured the Hall of Names, participated in a memorial ceremony in the Hall of Remembrance, visited the Children's Memorial and signed the Yad Vashem guest book.
"Eighty years ago, on Kristallnacht in November, the Jews in Germany suffered hatred and violence the likes of which they've never encountered before," Merkel wrote in the guest book. "What came later is a crime unlike any, a breaking point for civilization, the Holocaust. Since then, Germany has a responsibility to remember this crime and fight anti-Semitism, xenophobia and hatred in general."
After her visit to Yad Vashem, Merkel received an honorary doctorate from Haifa University and met with students at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.
Merkel denied a report she had threatened to cancel her visit if the illegal Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar is evacuated. "This is an Israeli decision and our visit is not affected by it," she told students at the Israel Museum. "There could be different views on this, on the settlements, and I had critical comments on this because I believe in the two-state solution, but this is a different matter."
Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who met with Merkel at the Israel Museum, said he was "glad the chancellor made it acutely clear that the story about Khan al-Ahmar is complete fake news."
Asked about her disagreements with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the Iranian nuclear deal, Merkel said that "on the basic statement that everything must be done to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, we are in agreement. The issue on which we have different views is whether the agreement reached with Iran is the way, for a limited time, to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons."
Later, she toured the museum's exhibit on innovation with Prime Minister Netanyahu and had a round table discussion with businesspeople.
The two examined different new developments, including a lab designed for zero-gravity experiments in space, a development to dealing with strokes, a development in agriculture, and more.
"The German economy is one of the biggest in the world, and I believe those who initiate, get ahead," Netanyahu said during the round table discussion.
To Merkel, he added, "I was happy to host you at the innovation exhibition. This is the future and I'm very happy to host you in the future. We can build many things together."
The German chancellor then made her way to the President's Residence for a working lunch with President Reuven Rivlin.
At 2pm she will meet with Netanyahu, following which the two leaders will hold a joint press conference.
At 3:45pm, the governments of Israel and Germany will hold their seventh inter-governmental (G2G) meeting in Jerusalem.
The inter-governmental consultations will focus on security, scientific, economic, cultural and cyber cooperation. There will also be a series of discussions and the signing of MOUs, the goal of which is to strengthen bilateral relations.
Merkel is scheduled to return to Germany at 7pm.
The German chancellor landed in Israel for a quick 24-hour visit on Wednesday evening and headed straight to Jerusalem for dinner at the Prime Minister's Residence.