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September 4, 2022 1:19 pm

‘Toothless’: Israel’s Herzog Slams Iran Deal During Visit For 50th Commemoration of Munich Massacre in Germany

avatar by Sharon Wrobel

State welcome ceremony for President Isaac Herzog at Schloss Bellevue in Berlin with German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Photo credits: Amos Ben-Gershom (GPO)

President Isaac Herzog arrived in Berlin on Sunday for a three-day state visit to attend the 50th anniversary commemoration ceremony for the Israeli athletes murdered at the 1972 Munich Olympics. On the trip, he also took the opportunity to voice the country’s deep concern about the emerging Iran nuclear deal.

“This is a moment that weaves together past and future, pain and pride, memory and hope,” said Herzog as he was welcomed with a state ceremony and an honor guard at Schloss Bellevue, the German presidential palace in Berlin. “Like many other members of the Jewish People, for me too, visiting Germany is a journey in search of roots, both personal and national.”

Herzog, who was invited by his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier, will on Monday take part in the 50th anniversary memorial for the massacre of 11 Israeli athletes by Palestinian terrorists, after the victims’ families last week reached a compensation agreement with the German government.

“I thank you for your tireless moral commitment to historic justice, a commitment reflected in your personal involvement, which ultimately led to a breakthrough, based on the taking of responsibility by the German Government for the security and rescue failures, an exhaustive historical inquiry, and compensation for the bereaved families,” Herzog told Steinmeier. “I appreciate and respect your efforts to bring this painful episode to a place of healing, and I hope that from now on, we shall continue to remember, invoke, and most importantly reaffirm the lessons of this tragedy, including the importance of fighting terror, for future generations.”

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Herzog will participate in the memorial ceremony together with the families of the murdered athletes, Germany’s top leadership, and officials from the Olympic Committee of Israel, his office said.

“I shall represent the People of Israel and the State of Israel,” he remarked.

During the official visit, Herzog will deliver an address before the German Bundestag on Tuesday to “reveal diplomatic thoughts on the major issues on the agenda, including the Iranian nuclear program,” and express Israel’s objection to the emerging deal with Tehran.

“Iran is openly striving for Israel’s destruction, and the international community must treat it severely, firmly and assertively,” Herzog demanded. “Toothless and watered-down accords and sweeping benefits will not stop Iran.”

“Iran has proven that it cannot be trusted. Iran has proven that it has no qualms about sowing terror, death, and thuggish behavior threatening global stability,” he continued. “Israel will stand up and assertively and powerfully defend its citizens and Jewish communities all around the world.”

Herzog’s Iran comments come after Prime Minister Yair Lapid said earlier Sunday that Israel’s security establishment is working hard on an “intensive campaign” to avert the signing of a “dangerous” nuclear deal between Iran and major Western powers.

“I say this cautiously but in the meantime, it is working,” Lapid stated. “The reservations that we have presented to the American administration have been taken into account.”

On Monday, Mossad Director David Barnea will travel to Washington, DC to tighten security and intelligence coordination with the US on the Iranian nuclear issue, the Israel Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement. Barnea will hold a series of meetings with senior officials from the White House, CIA, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Pentagon, State Department and additional security agencies.

Lapid said that in the meetings, Barnea will clarify Israel’s position about the dangers of the emerging nuclear deal between Iran and Western powers.

“The correct policy is the one we have led over the past year: To continue the pressure but without going too far,” Lapid said. “To present credible intelligence, to be part of the process without destroying our special relationship with the US.””

During the visit to Germany, Herzog is also scheduled to meet with Steinmeier, Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz, and other senior officials, as well as visit the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp and meet Holocaust survivors and local youth for a conversation about the importance of remembrance.

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