Netanyahu tells Merkel concerned over rise in anti-Semitism

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu opens the weekly cabinet meeting at his Jerusalem office on September 26, 2017

Jerusalem (AFP) – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday Israel was concerned over a rise in anti-Semitism, after a right-wing nationalist party won seats in Berlin’s parliament.

“Israel is concerned over the rise of anti-Semitism in recent years among political elements from the right and left, as well as from Islamist elements,” Netanyahu’s office quoted him as saying in a phone call with the German leader.

While Netanyahu seemed to be referring to the results of the Sunday general German election, the Israeli leader stopped short of naming the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, which won about 13 percent of the general vote — the best showing for a nationalist force since World War II.

In his conversation with Merkel, Netanyahu “called on the new government that would be formed to act to strengthen the forces in Germany that accept the historic responsibility” of the Holocaust, his office said.

“Israel rejects any attempt to deny the Holocaust,” Netanyahu said, noting that Germany also remained responsible for the historic event.

“There are two things — Holocaust denial, and denial of the responsibility,” he said.

Key members of AfD have challenged Germany’s culture of atonement over World War II and the slaughter of six million Jews in the Holocaust.

More than 70 years after the Holocaust the killing of European Jews still runs deep in relations between Israel and Germany, one of its strongest EU supporters.


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