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After delay, Merkel expected in Israel for farewell visit on Sunday

Outgoing German leader will meet cabinet ministers and local entrepreneurs, discuss regional challenges with PM Bennett

German Chancellor Angela Merkel gives a statement on September 2, 2020, at the Chancellery in Berlin about tests carried out by the German army on Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny. (Markus Schreiber/POOL/AFP)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel gives a statement on September 2, 2020, at the Chancellery in Berlin about tests carried out by the German army on Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny. (Markus Schreiber/POOL/AFP)

After previously postponing her planned trip to Israel, outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel will arrive in the Jewish state for a farewell visit set to take place on Sunday.

Merkel, who is currently leading a caretaker government following national elections until a new government is formed, will meet with the Israeli cabinet, visit Yad Vashem and meet Israeli high-tech leaders and entrepreneurs.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is expected to discuss with the German leader regional challenges and threats, among them Iran.

The chancellor was originally slated to visit Israel in late August, but canceled amid the upheaval surrounding the United States’ withdrawal from Afghanistan and the Kabul airport attack.

That visit was called off in consultation with Bennett “because of current developments in Afghanistan,” Merkel’s office said in a statement at the time. Germany was among the countries scrambling to evacuate from Kabul their own nationals and Afghans who helped their forces during a nearly two-decade deployment in the country.

Throughout her 16 years in power, Merkel, who most recently visited the Jewish state in 2018, has described Israel’s national security as a crucial priority of German foreign policy due to the country’s historical responsibility for the Holocaust.

Congratulating the new Israeli government in June, Merkel said that Germany and Israel were “connected by a unique friendship that we want to strengthen further.”

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier visited Israel at the end of June, stressing support for the country and pledging to continue to fight against antisemitism in Germany.

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