Koehler promises fight against anti-Semitism

1st February 2005, Comments 0 comments

1 February 2005, JERUSALEM - German President Horst Koehler arrived on Tuesday in Jerusalem on a sensitive political trip to mark the establishment 40 years ago of diplomatic relations. Koehler, who is set to meet with Israeli leaders in his four-day state visit, was due Wednesday to address the Knesset (parliament) in German, triggering threats of protests over his use of the language in a country of Holocaust memories sensitive to this. In a meeting with Israeli President Moshe Katzav, Koehler made assur

1 February 2005

JERUSALEM - German President Horst Koehler arrived on Tuesday in Jerusalem on a sensitive political trip to mark the establishment 40 years ago of diplomatic relations.

Koehler, who is set to meet with Israeli leaders in his four-day state visit, was due Wednesday to address the Knesset (parliament) in German, triggering threats of protests over his use of the language in a country of Holocaust memories sensitive to this.

In a meeting with Israeli President Moshe Katzav, Koehler made assurances of a decisive campaign against anti-Semitism in Germany in response to a perceived encroaching influence of right-wing extremism in the country.

All democratic forces in Germany were united "to fight (anti- Semitism and right-wing extremism) with all democratic means, above all in the political arena", Koehler said.

Katzav, who is to visit Berlin in May, expressed faith in German democracy saying: "Germany in the year 2005 is a true friend of Israel."

Katzav added however that there could be no normalcy between Israel and Germany after the Holocaust, in which millions of Jews were exterminated by Germany's Nazi dictatorship in the 1930s and '40s.

Koehler concurred saying: "Germany has a special responsibility towards Israel and its people" and added that he hoped his visit would be further milestone for friendship and partnership.

Both men also appealed to the possibility of peace in the Middle East.

Koehler is to visit on Tuesday the Yad VaShem holocaust memorial, and later in the trip will meet with Israeli Premier Ariel Sharon.

Plans are for Koehler to be acquainted with the various aspects of Israel in order to lay the basis for an intensification of relations between the two countries on all levels. 

 Subject: German news 

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