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December 8, 2021 1:35 pm
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Israeli Diplomats, Jewish Groups Congratulate Germany’s New Leader Olaf Scholz as Merkel Era Ends

avatar by Sharon Wrobel

Newly elected German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is sworn-in by Parliament President Baerbel Bas during a session of the German lower house of parliament Bundestag, in Berlin, Germany, December 8, 2021. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

Israeli diplomats and Jewish groups on Wednesday welcomed the election of Olaf Scholz as Chancellor of Germany, officially marking the end of Angela Merkel’s 16-year tenure.

Israel’s Foreign Minister Yair Lapid congratulated Scholz on his official appointment and said that “Germany is a close friend of Israel.”

“The political and strategic partnership between the two countries is very important to us,” Lapid said. “We will continue to work together to maintain the close relationships between us.”

During Merkel’s last visit to Israel as Chancellor of Germany in October, Israel President Isaac Herzog called her a “true friend of Israel” and thanked her for her “personal commitment to Israel’s security and Holocaust remembrance.”

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The Social Democrat Scholz will lead a three-party coalition that also includes the fiscally conservative Free Democrats and the environmentalist Greens.

Germany’s Ambassador to Israel Susanne Wasum-Rainer stated that the coalition has made clear that support for Israel’s security would remain a priority.

“The new government will continue to support a negotiated two-state solution based on the borders of 1967 and condemns the continuing threats to the state of Israel. It welcomes the normalization of relations between Israel and several of its neighbor states,” Wasum-Rainer said.

Wasum-Rainer added that the coalition has also announced that it will “promote Jewish life in Germany, fight antisemitism in all its forms according to the definition adopted by the IHRA and ensure the safety of Jews and Jewish institutions in the country.”

”We wish you the best of luck,” the Council of Jews in Germany tweeted, wishing Scholz “Mazal Tov.”

Israeli Ambassador to Germany Jeremy Issacharoff sent his “warmest” congratulations to Scholz.

“Israel will remain committed to strengthening even more the strategic partnership with Germany in all aspects for the benefit of both our peoples,” Issachoroff tweeted.

He further thanked outgoing Foreign Minister Heiko Maas for his “personal commitment to the friendship with Israel, to the Jewish people and to the Abraham Accords,” adding that his leadership raised the German-Israel partnership to a “new level.”

US Jewish groups also extended their welcome, with the American Jewish Committee pointing to matters of “mutual concern, including combating antisemitism and strengthening Israel-German-US ties.”

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