Berlin: Israeli-German Inter-Parliamentary Forum convenes for the first time, discusses immigration and absorption

(Photo: Achim Melde/Deutscher Bundestag)

The current waves of immigration and the different approaches to absorbing refuges and integrating them in society were the focus Monday`s first meeting of the Israeli-German Inter-Parliamentary Forum, which was held in Berlin.

Knesset Members and members of the Bundestag discussed these topics while employing their parliamentary experience. The meeting centered on the challenges both countries face amid the waves of immigration.

At the opening of the meeting, which was held at the Reichstag, Bundestag President Professor Norbert Lammert stressed the symbolic and practical importance of such meetings for both the German and Israeli legislatures. Such forums, he said, further strengthen the relations between the countries and offer German and Israeli lawmakers an opportunity to learn from one another as part of the effort to find solutions to current problems, he said.

Berlin: Israeli-German Inter-Parliamentary Forum convenes for the first time, discusses immigration and absorption

(Photo: Achim Melde/Deutscher Bundestag)

Lammert addressed the refugee crisis in Germany and said ”anyone who immigrates to Germany is absorbed into the German basic laws. This principle applies to everyone, without exception, and recognizing Israel`s right to exist is an inseparable part of this principle and of the German values.”

MK Nachman Shai (Zionist Camp), who heads the Knesset`s Israel-Germany Parliamentary Friendship Group, stressed the importance of Israel`s experience with many waves of immigration throughout its history, as well as Germany`s approach to the continued plight of the refugees in Europe. ”The cooperation and sharing of knowledge between the parliaments are extremely important,” he said. ”There is no doubt that both sides can enrich one another with knowledge and approaches in this field.”

Bundestag Vice President Petra Pau and Bundestag President Lammert moderated the inter-parliamentary forum they took part in, which also featured German MPs Wolfgang Bosbach and Armin Schuster (CDU/CSU); Dr. Eva Hogl (SPD); Irene Mihalic (Bündnis 90/Die Grünen) and Susanna Karawanskij (Die Linke). The Knesset delegation included MKs Shai, Revital Swid (Zionist Camp), Michal Biran (Zionist Camp), Elie Elalouf (Kulanu), Avraham Neguise (Likud), Amir Ohana (Likud) and Michal Rozin (Meretz).

To mark 50 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between Israel and Germany, the presidiums of the Knesset and the Bundestag agreed to hold, beginning in 2016, various forums on a host of issues. The meetings will be held, alternately, in both countries` legislatures. Next year the forum is expected to convene in Jerusalem.