Germany can play a key role today in helping Israel meet the enormous challenges that we face.
I want to welcome you to Jerusalem, Mr. President.
I was very moved, as were the people of Israel, by the fact that you chose to make your first trip as President of Germany to Israel. I think this is highly symbolic of the unique relations between our two countries, and in coming here to express your support for Israel, you follow the footsteps of many German leaders who have confronted their past with clarity and with courage, and committed themselves to a different future between Germany and the Jewish people and the Jewish state.
The relations between our two countries are strong and they are varied. There is significant security and diplomatic cooperation. I’ve just spoken on the phone with Angela Merkel in a very important conversation that touches on the relations of our two countries. And remember that Germany is Israel’s largest trading partner in Europe, and also, I think, a bastion of stability and friendship. We view it as such.
We cooperate in the fields of science, in the fields of energy, agriculture, water, health, technology. Many, many fields, and we intend to expand that cooperation further in our annual meeting of governments that will take place in January with the visit of the German Cabinet here.
Since World War II, a democratic Germany has helped foster security and prosperity for Europe, and it has also worked to advance peace and stability around the world.
I think that Germany can play a key role today in helping Israel meet the enormous challenges that we face. As we’ve just discussed – we were looking at a map in my office here, and this map clearly shows the Middle East – and the great challenge that confronts the Middle East and the peace of the world from Iran’s attempt to develop nuclear weapons. And as the leaked diplomatic cables remind us, Iran’s pursuit of a nuclear weapons program is perceived as a threat not merely by Israelis, but also by states throughout the region and around the world.
Germany can help the pursuit of peace between Israel and its Palestinian neighbors. We’ve discussed briefly, and will do so further in our dinner conversation, about the various projects that Germany is pursuing, economic projects and infrastructure projects, to try to help the Palestinians. This is very much in our interest as well, and we welcome this cooperation.
Despite all the setbacks and difficulties, we will continue to pursue peace. We hope that we have in the Palestinian Authority a partner that is willing to forge an historic compromise between our two peoples, to give our children and our grandchildren a future of hope and prosperity and security.
As we work to achieve, Mr. President, this historic peace, we know that Germany will stand firmly by our side. So it’s a special pleasure for me to welcome you here today with your colleagues in Jerusalem. Welcome.