Knesset Speaker Mickey Levy arrived in Berlin on Monday for a state visit that will include an address to the Bundestag in honor of International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Levy’s visit is also slated to include meetings with new German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock. He is also scheduled to visit the historic House of Wannsee, the Berlin villa where the Nazis planned the Final Solution, as well as meet with two of his European counterparts, Bundestag President Bärbel Bas and Austrian National Council President Wolfgang Sobotka.
His slated address to the Bundestag on Thursday will mark the first time a Knesset speaker has addressed the full German parliament.
“For the first time in history, the Speaker of the Knesset – the democratically elected parliament of the only Jewish state – will stand where more than 80 years ago Nazi oppressors called for the annihilation of our people before executing the most horrific crime in mankind’s history — the Holocaust,” said Levy following his arrival in Berlin. “I will stand proud being Jewish, with six million silent souls by my side and deliver the speech in Hebrew, the eternal language of the Jewish people.”
On Thursday, Israel and Germany served as “co-facilitators” on a resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly aimed at combating Holocaust denial.
“It is Germany’s historical responsibility to keep the memory of the Holocaust alive and we are fully aware that we carry a special obligation in this regard,” the country’s UN envoy Antje Leendertse said in a statement after the adoption of the resolution.
Earlier last week, Israel and Germany inked a 3 billion euro deal for the purchase of submarines, with Defense Minister Benny Gantz thanking Berlin for “its commitment to Israel’s security.”
His visit this week, Levy said, “symbolizes the true friendship between Israel and Germany. Two liberal democracies that share liberal values and a mutual commitment to remember the Holocaust, protect the sanctity of the murdered and fight antisemitism around the world.”