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Silent on AfD, Netanyahu hints Merkel win bodes well for own fifth term

Four-term Israeli prime minister says German leader’s fourth victory ‘an omen’ for another, keeps mum on rise of far-right party

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (left) shakes hands with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after arriving in Jerusalem on February 24, 2014. (Sebastian Scheiner/AFP)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel (left) shakes hands with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after arriving in Jerusalem on February 24, 2014. (Sebastian Scheiner/AFP)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu indicated Monday that Angela Merkel’s reelection as chancellor of Germany for the fourth time bodes well for his own prospects of reelection.

Merkel, who has served as chancellor of Germany for 12 years, cruised to a fourth term with 33 percent of the vote in Sunday’s election, but analysts have pointed to her weakened coalition option as a sign that she may not survive another contest.

Netanyahu, who is facing legal troubles at home that some predict may spell the end of his political career, called Merkel a “good friend,” despite several high-profile disputes with her and her government.

“It’s good that someone wins for the fourth time, it’s an omen for a fifth,” Netanyahu said at a toast for the Jewish New Year at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem.

Earlier this month, Netanyahu, who has been elected prime minister four times, said he wants to lead Israel for years to come.

Despite his growing legal troubles, the prime minister claimed that public support for him has reached unprecedented heights in recent weeks.

On Sunday, Netanyahu congratulated Merkel on her victory, calling her a true friend of Israel.

However, he remained silent on Sunday and Monday on the entry of an anti-immigrant, far-right party into parliament for the first time since World War II.

Almost immediately after the exit polls were released, several major Jewish groups expressed alarm and dismay at the anti-migrant party’s rise, which has also been condemned by Germany’s established political parties but celebrated by Europe’s far-right leaders like France’s Marine Le Pen and the Netherlands’ Geert Wilders.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry said it had no immediate comment on the election results.

In addition to being openly hostile to immigration, the AfD’s platform includes challenging Germany’s culture of atonement over World War II and the massacre of six million Jews and others in the Holocaust.

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