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How Long Will German-Israeli Ties Last Without Angela Merkel?

14 8 18

On October 10, outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel is due to visit Israel. Happily for her, Naftali Bennett is the prime minister. Merkel would not have been keen to come here if Benjamin Netanyahu were still ensconced in Balfour Street. It was no secret that Merkel, like former U.S. President Barack Obama, former French President Nicolas Sarkozy and other world leaders couldn’t stand Netanyahu, mainly because of his lack of trustworthiness.

Merkel’s dislike of the former premier is well-illustrated by the following anecdote: Ten years ago this month, Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was freed from Hamas captivity in a deal in which Netanyahu released more than 1,000 terrorists. The German government mediated and helped bring the deal to fruition via the efforts of Gerhard Conrad, a top officer in the BND, the German intelligence agency. Upon Shalit’s return, Netanyahu thanked the chancellor and the German government effusively for their assistance. Merkel merely issued a terse statement of congratulations to the Shalit family and left it at that. (By the way, it would have been a nice gesture if Merkel had asked Conrad to come along on her trip to Israel.)

The cool wind blowing toward Netanyahu from Merkel intensified over the years, and it certainly didn’t help matters that he embarrassed her by embroiling her government in the........

© Haaretz

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