In Jerusalem, Candidate for Top Post in Germany’s Ruling Party ‘Ashamed’ of Antisemitism
Armin Laschet, premier of the German state of North Rhine Westphalia, on Sunday pledged strong action by his country against antisemitism, and racism in general, at home.
“I am ashamed that we are experiencing this once again in Germany, 75 years after the liberation of Auschwitz,” Laschet said in Jerusalem, referring to antisemitic and right-wing violence.
It was in Germany’s national interest to safeguard Israel’s security, said the 59-year-old, who also toured the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial institute and met with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin.
“But it is also a national interest to guarantee the security of Jews in Germany,” he added.
Laschet’s visit was meant to signal that Germany was a “strong state, with a strong civil society, that would fight racism, antisemitism, and discrimination.”
Rivlin called Laschet a “great friend” of Israel and one of the most important and promising personalities within the ruling Christian Democrats. Israel has been following the rise of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party as well as the latest right-wing and antisemitic incidents in the country with concern, he said.
It was Laschet’s first visit abroad since he announced his candidacy to take over the CDU when the party holds a special conference on April 25. The new CDU leader is likely to take the party into federal elections, which must be held by the autumn of next year.