‘We are seizing the future together’ but must defeat radical Islam, Netanyahu tells Merkel

We are seizing the future together but we also have to defeat the forces that want to drag us into the past, Netanyahu told Merkel, pointing specifically to ISIS and Iran. 

By: Adina Katz, World Israel News

At a joint press conference at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem Thursday, following an expanded work meeting, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked German Chancellor Angela Merkel for her friendship to Israel, stressing the strong cooperation “to the advantage of both our countries.”

“Ten years ago you famously addressed the Knesset,” the prime minister said. “You declared that Germany and Israel are linked by a special, unique friendship. You described this friendship as being marked by an enduring responsibility for the past, by shared values, by shared challenges and shared interests. You said that Germany would never forsake Israel, and would remain a true friend and partner to Israel and that Israel’s security would never be open to negotiation.

“I have to say, Chancellor Merkel, that you have kept true to your word and you have shown it time and time again. I thank you and all the people of Israel thank you for your unrelenting support for Israel’s security.

“I also thank you for taking a very strong and unreserved stance against anti-Semitism. You have been unyielding in your efforts to recognize history, to defend the truth, to stamp out anti-Semitism in Germany and throughout Europe. Under your leadership, relations between our two countries and peoples have flourished.

“Today we cooperate in almost every field,” Netanyahu continued. “These governmental meetings produce tangible results in security, science, trade, commerce, cyber. Today we discussed about deepening our cyber cooperation, cyber security and join development assistance to other countries, an idea that we discussed in one of our meetings, and we decided we would work together in Africa, we are doing that. It’s a great success. We’re expanding that as well.”

Technology and innovation will make visit a ‘milestone’

“But I think what will mark this visit, what will turn it into a milestone, is our cooperation in one specific area, which is technology and innovation. This is key to the future. The future belongs to those that innovate. We have two extraordinary economies. Germany is one of the great economies of the world. It has singular capacities in science, in industry, in technology. Israel is among of the leading innovation nations in the world. Some say right there at the top. This morning we visited an innovation exhibition of Israeli and German companies and I came back, as you did you told me, with a tremendous impression of the talents and the initiatives. We saw how German and Israeli companies are innovating and working together including in transportation, digital health, telecommunications, agrotechnology and many others. Many, many other fields. In fact it’s unlimited the potential here…

“Together, Israeli and German companies are increasing access to drinking water, identifying new cures for disease, new techniques for surgery and medical treatment, protecting our environment. I think that strengthening the cooperation between our two countries doesn’t just benefit our two countries, this benefits millions and millions of people around the world. So it’s good intrinsically, it’s good nationally for each of us, but it’s also good, I believe, for the world at large…

“We are seizing the future together but we also have to defeat the forces that want to drag us into the past,” the Israeli leader stated. “And I believe that our hopes for the future today are being challenged by the forces of radical Islam, and primarily the forces of Daesh [ISIS] on the one side and Iran and its proxies on the other side. There is no question you know it’s not a secret, certainly not a state secret, that I opposed the deal with Iran because I thought that it paved its way to a nuclear arsenal. But the deal also did something else. It put billions of dollars in the hands of the leading sponsor of terrorism in the world and the leading aggressor in the Middle East – Iran.”

‘Iran’s aggressive activity extends to Europe’

“And this money unfortunately did not go to improve the lives of Iranian citizens. Instead, it went to funding a war machine, Iran’s war machine, that is bent on conquering the entire Middle East. And I have to say that Iran’s aggressive activity also extends to Europe. I spoke about the fact that Israeli intelligence gave European services the information that Iran’s services were planting, planning in Europe by Iranian diplomats, Iranian officials, terrorist attacks on the soil of Europe. And I was very glad to see that an Iranian diplomat was recently arrested in Germany for this failed bombing plot in Paris. I was also glad to see the recent decisions, I think two days ago, by the French government against these diplomats and against Iran.

“I believe that all nations must join together to press the Iranian regime to fully dismantle its nuclear weapons program. They’re still trying to hide, I exposed some of that in the UN. They’re trying to get there through the back door. But also to cease its terror activities in Europe and around the world, and also to stop using Syria as a base for attacks against Israel. Syria and Lebanon. And ultimately they have to get out of Syria altogether.”

Vowing that Israel will continue to do whatever is necessary for self-defense, Netanyahu pointed to one “benefit” of the Iranian threat, which is that it “brought Israel and the Arab states close as never before. And I believe that this new relationship is a great hope for the future because I think that it paves the way for peace.”

However, he added, “I am sorry to say that we don’t see this attitude on the part of the Palestinian Authority, and I think countries have to stand up and tell them, cease what you are doing. Especially the choking of Gaza right now, which could lead to very difficult consequences.”

Israel-Germany friendship ‘offers hope’ to the world

“We overcame the horrors of the past. We never forget them, we never forget, and you will never forget, but we have transformed our relationship into a warm and constructive friendship,” Netanyahu said.

“I think the example of Israel and Germany offers hope for all the people of the world. It shows how we can transform history and come together to build a better and safer world.”