Yesterday morning (Wednesday) Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin (Likud) and MK Edery were received in the Bundestag with great honor; the flags of Israel, Germany and the European Union were flown in the plaza.
During his visit, the Knesset Speaker met with his counterpart the President of the Bundestag Dr. Norbert Lammert and discussed various issues, including the case of the prohibition of circumcision in Germany, following news on the ruling of the District Court judge in Cologne, who stated that circumcision is a ”severe and unlawful interference in the integrity of the newborn’s body.” Bundestag President told Rivlin that he is not concerned. He said: ”It is a clash between the law and freedom of religion, and yet I`m not worried, because the German court has not yet had its last word”.
Rivlin told his colleague that ”the Bundestag has the authority to resolve this issue. The Bundestag determines the law and the courts work under the law determined by Bundestag…. The German Parliament understands the many implications of this matter. Right now this is a court decision, and without any doubt the German parliament would have to decide on this issue that also has implications towards Islam and Judaism. This is a real intervention in matters relating to freedom of religion and freedom of worship.”
Rivlin added: ”Israel takes great care to make sure all religions could conduct their customs unhindered. Democratic vision doesn’t allow saying to a person that following his religion and his faith is something that goes against any constitution.”
During their meeting they discussed the issue of Iran and the political situation in the region and on ways of strengthening relations between the two parliaments. Rivlin stressed this and said: ”The relationship between Germany and Israel are influenced by the Holocaust but are no longer based on them. These are relations between two democracies that are part of the free world. In recent years, there is a change not only the strength of the relationship between governments but also between the two peoples.”
Rivlin rejected claims that the settlements are an obstacle to peace and said: ”Abu Mazen wants to establish a `Judenrein` state alongside a State of all its citizens without any Jewish characteristics, and we cannot accept it. I understand the discontent in Germany that Israel is not listening to the requests of Germany on the peace process, despite the military aid from Germany, but Israel cannot abandon its security and strategic needs even at the requests of its best of friends.” Rivlin added: ”I believe a majority of eighty percent of the members of the Knesset supports the peace process and yet it is not advanced.”
The Bundestag President said to Rivlin: ”We have a special relationship with Israel that we do not share with other countries. We want to strengthen the relationship between parliaments, the two nations, and not just between governments. The Israeli-German Friendship Society has one hundred twenty members from all factions and all parties indicating a strong connection between Israel and Germany.”