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Germany’s Merkel said angered by Israeli leak of her planned August visit

Chancellor’s office requested matter be kept under wraps due to uncertainty surrounding trip; German official: ‘Nothing is certain,’ especially during the pandemic

German Chancellor Angela Merkel during a joint press conference with Israeli prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem on October 4, 2018. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel during a joint press conference with Israeli prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem on October 4, 2018. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was angered when news of her planned visit next month was leaked in Israel, the Kan public broadcaster reported Thursday.

Merkel, who is slated to leave office at the end of this year and is currently in Washington, agreed to visit Israel in August and meet with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and President Isaac Herzog.

However, according to Kan, Merkel’s office requested that the visit be kept under wraps due to the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the trip, and was unhappy to see it aired in news reports.

The report said the German chancellor had expressed hesitancy about committing to the visit and a German official told the broadcaster that there was still significant uncertainty surrounding the trip.

“There is still a long way to go until August and during the coronavirus pandemic, nothing is certain,” the unnamed official said.

Merkel last visited Israel in 2018, when she met with then-prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas visited most recently in May during the fighting between Israel and Gaza-based terror groups.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem on October 4, 2018. (Marc Israel Sellem/Pool/Flash90)

Germany will hold federal elections in September and Merkel, who has been chancellor since 2005, will not seek a fifth term in office.

Meanwhile, Bennett is considering planning his potential upcoming trip to the United States over a weekend in an effort to avoid missing crucial Knesset votes back at home, a diplomatic source with knowledge of the matter told The Times of Israel on Wednesday.

Following then-president Reuven Rivlin’s visit to the White House two weeks ago, US President Joe Biden extended an invitation to Bennett to travel to the White House “as early as possible.” Over the past two weeks, the offices of the two leaders have been trying to coordinate a suitable date for Bennett’s first official visit since he took office.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett delivers televised remarks at Ben Gurion Airport, on June 22, 2021. (Flash90)

Bennett will make the trip around mid-August, Channel 12 News reported on Wednesday. Topping the agenda for talks with Biden will be developments in Iran and the recent election of a new president in that country, hardliner Ebrahim Raisi, the Israeli television report said.

Tal Schneider contributed to this report.

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