German Chancellor Angela Merkel will be traveling to Israel today, marking her last visit to the country as a head
German Chancellor Angela Merkel will be traveling to Israel today, marking her last visit to the country as a head of government.
Germany’s September 26 parliamentary election resulted in a narrow victory for the Social Democratic Party (SPD), though it remains unclear whether the new government will maintain the same level of support as the previous government under Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union party. Germany exports arms to Israel at a rate second only to the US, contributing significantly to the German economy and accounting for 24% of Israel’s imports over the past decade.
Merkel’s visit today is more symbolic than political. She will meet with Israeli President Isaac Herzog and visit the country’s Holocaust memorial. Merkel, a staunch supporter of the Israeli state, likely aims to send a message to the incoming German government to ensure continued Holocaust remembrance, rectifying history via current German-Israeli relations.
Despite the SPD’s strong support for Israel, the party has publicly stated opposition towards illegal Israeli settlements, and will likely push for a re-evaluation of German foreign policy towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As such, expect tensions to rise if the SPD establishes preconditions of curtailing Israeli settlements in exchange for status-quo level weapons sales.
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