Merkel embarks on farewell visit to Israel


Germany’s outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel arrived in Israel on Sunday, marking her final official visit to the Jewish state before she leaves office after remaining in the post for 16 years.

Merkel began her visit with a meeting with Israel’s newly-elected Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, reports Xinhua news agency.

Merkel and Bennett are expected to talk about regional issues, including Iran, according to a statement issued by the latter’s office.

Later, the outgoing Chancellor will pay a visit to Yad Vashem, Israel’s official Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem.

Her schedule includes also a meeting with Israeli President Isaac Herzog and talks with industry and high-tech entrepreneurs.

German Ambassador to Israel Susanne Wasum-Rainer wrote on Twitter that the aim of the visit is to “strengthen our unique relationship”.

Merkel arrived at Ben Gurion Airport outside Tel Aviv late on Saturday as a guest of Bennett, who ended Benjamin Netanyahu’s 12-year consecutive rule in June.

Her two-day farewell travel came after 16 years in office during which she had cultivated warm ties with the Jewish state.

Her trip was supposed to take place in August, but was postponed amid the chaotic withdrawal of the US forces from Afghanistan.

Merkel last visited Israel in 2018.