• Germany's news in English

German media mixed on Merkel's Knesset speech

AFP · 19 Mar 2008, 13:21

Published: 19 Mar 2008 13:21 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Merkel pledged her unwavering support for the Jewish state 60 years after it was founded in the aftermath of the Nazi Holocaust, as she on Tuesday became the first German head of government to address the Knesset.

Newspaper editorials welcomed Merkel's expression of shame for the murder of six million European Jews during World War II and her criticism of the Hamas movement's rocket attacks on Israel and Iran's threats against the country.

But they warned that Germany's hopes to play a constructive role in the Middle East peace process could be hobbled by a stance seen as too pro-Israeli, with only muted criticism of some of the state's more contentious policies.

"Germany must be careful not to make (US President George W.) Bush's cardinal mistake and be biased in the peace process," the centre-left daily Süddeutsche Zeitung wrote.

"Merkel must maintain her independence and criticize Israel directly for its occupation and settlement policy. A genuine friend tells the truth."

The mass-selling tabloid daily Bild, itself a longtime defender of Israel, said Germans must be aware that Merkel's expressions of unwavering solidarity may require the country to come to Israel's defence one day.

"In Israel, Merkel's speech will not be forgotten. Anyone so clearly declaring themselves a friend and ally of Israel must know that this will be taken literally when the time comes, and that Germany cannot duck the situation if things get tougher in the Middle East or if Iran really does get serious about the nuclear bomb," it said. "Merkel should speak openly about this. She must explain how far Germany would be prepared to go (and why) to secure Israel's existence."

The centre-right daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung also cautiously warned against making hollow promises to Israel.

Story continues below…

"It cannot be overlooked that the means Germany has of supporting Israel's security are limited," it said. "It doesn't have the United States' influence in the Middle East, and in international policy it is only a medium-sized power."

Merkel's three-day trip to Israel with several of her cabinet ministers marked the start of regular governmental consultations between the countries, a framework for talks that Germany has only with a handful of close allies.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert welcomed Merkel's tough stance on the Iranian nuclear programme after talks with her and said she had told him "any threat to Israel's security is a threat to Germany's security."

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
Outrage over ruling on 'brutal' gang rape of teen girl
The now convicted suspects, sitting in court in Hamburg. Photo: DPA.

A 14-year-old girl was gang-raped and left partially clothed and unconscious in freezing temperatures. Now prosecutors are appealing the sentences for the young men found guilty, most of whom will not set foot in jail.

Dozens of Turkish diplomats apply for asylum in Germany
Demonstrators holding a giant Turkish flag protest against the attempted coup in Istanbul in July. Photo: DPA.

Since the failed putsch attempt in Turkey in July, Germany has received 35 asylum applications from people with Turkish diplomatic passports, the Interior Ministry confirmed on Wednesday.

Hertha Berlin fan club criticised for 'anti-gay banner'
Hertha BSC beat FC Cologne 2-1. Photo: DPA

A 50 metre fan banner apparently mocking the idea of gay adoption has overshadowed Hertha BSC's win in the Bundesliga.

Germany stalls Chinese takeover of tech firm Aixtron
Aixtron headquarters in Herzogenrath. Photo: DPA

The German government on Monday said it had withdrawn approval for a Chinese firm to acquire Aixtron, a supplier to the semiconductor industry, amid growing unease over Chinese investment in German companies.

Politicians call for tough sentences for 'killer clowns'
File photo: DPA.

Now that the so-called 'killer clown' craze has spread from the US to Germany, elected officials are drawing a hard line against such "pranks", with some threatening offenders with jail time of up to a year.

Nearly one in ten Germans are severely disabled
Photo: DPA

New figures reveal that 9.3 percent of the German population last year were considered severely disabled.

The Local List
Germany's top 10 most surreal sites to visit
The Upside-Down House, in Mecklenburg–Western Pomerania. Photo: Olaf Meister / Wikimedia Commons

From upside-down houses on Baltic islands to a fairy-tale castle near the Austrian border, Germany is a treasure trove of the extraordinary.

Bavarian critics back Merkel for Chancellor again
Photo: DPA

The Christian Social Union (CSU) have long delayed backing Angela Merkel as their candidate for Chancellor in next year's general election. But now key leaders are supporting her publicly.

Four taken to hospital after hotel toilet bursts into flames
File photo: DPA.

Four guests at a Nuremberg hotel were taken to hospital due to smoke inhalation early Monday morning after a toilet there burst into flames.

Creepy clown scare spreads to Germany
Two of the clowns were apparently equipped with chainsaws. Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP file picture

Police said Friday five incidents involving so-called scary clowns had occurred in two north German towns, including one assailant who hit a man with a baseball bat, amid fears that Halloween could spark a rash of similar attacks.

10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd