German president to visit Israel November 27-30: Berlin

23rd November 2010, Comments 0 comments

President Christian Wulff, Germany's first head of state born after World War II, will pay his first official visit to Israel on November 27-30, his office said on Tuesday.

Details of the visit were not released but Wulff's predecessor Horst Koehler used a visit in 2005 to lay a wreath at Jerusalem's Yad Vashem memorial to the six million Jews killed in the Holocaust and address the Israeli parliament.

Chancellor Angela Merkel visited in March 2008, 60 years after the Jewish state was founded in the wake of the Nazi Holocaust, also laying a wreath at the memorial.

"The Holocaust fills us Germans with shame," Merkel, the first German chancellor born after World War II, told the Knesset.

"I bow before the victims, I bow before the survivors, and before all those who helped them so they could survive."

Several lawmakers stayed away from the chamber, however, in protest at the chancellor speaking in German.

Johannes Rau was the first German head of state to address the Knesset, doing so in 2000, appealing for forgiveness for the Holocaust.

The two countries set up full diplomatic relations in 1965 and Germany is now one of Israel's closest partners in Europe.

Wulff will also visit the Palestinian territories, his office said.

© 2010 AFP

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