German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been a strong supporter of Israel for 16 years. She is the first European leader to publicly support Israel’s right to exist and defend itself against attacks from Hezbollah militants in 2006. Now, she has left her post as German Chancellor after 12 years in office to hand over power to Social Democrat Martin Schulz. Merkel was one of the few leaders who visited Israel during Operation Protective Edge back in 2014. Despite being a social democrat, he has been warm to Merkel’s relationship with Israel. He is considered a friend of the Jewish state for his strong support of Israel as well as his opposition to boycotts.
In May this year, Schulz condemned Hamas, calling it an anti-Semitic terrorist organization that seeks to annihilate Israel. In 2014, on a visit to Jerusalem, Schulz said that the Palestinians are suffering under Israel’s occupation and called for negotiations with terror groups Hamas and Hezbollah. Another aspect of this is the suffering on both sides caused by the conflict I don’t want you to forget what I experienced in my life. It is inconceivable that some people believe that whatever they believe is more important
We know that there are many problems on this road. The first step, however, must be that Hamas will accept Israel’s right to exist, Schulz said in an interview with Yedioth Ahronoth at the time.
He has also demonstrated his opposition to the boycotts of Israel. In March, Schulz went as far as to say that those who call for boycotts of Israel are taking a stand not only against Israel but also against the German spirit of the enlightenment. He added: “We must be able to counter the anti-Semitism from migrants with confidence and strength. That is our task in Germany. Countering it is not a matter for Israel alone. It’s our shared challenge.
It’s good to know that Germany has a new leader who supports the Jewish state against anti-Semitic attacks. Schulz will be working under Angela Merkel in her last days in office before handing over power on November 28th. Schulz is expected to run for Chancellor in the September 2017 election.
Merkel’s resignation comes after her party achieved a victory in the 2017 North Rhine-Westphalia state election, which signifies an important win for Merkel and her party. In early June, she resolved a crisis that almost toppled Germany’s right-center coalition government over immigration. Under immense pressure from her allies to implement stricter policies on refugees, Merkel decided to ban asylum seekers from bringing their families to Germany, which sparked criticism from human rights groups. The first day of her new term was met with protests.
Despite the criticism, she has maintained widespread support for policies, including allowing over 1 million refugees into the country in 2015 and 2016. Merkel is well known for standing strong in the face of terrorism. After the terrorist attack in Berlin, she vowed to fight for her country after the attacker stabbed one person to death and injured 5 others with a truck at a Christmas market. At a time when many were upset by Merkel’s decision to open the borders, she drew on widespread support from Germans who wanted to help those in need.