Israel in historic meeting to mark Holocaust

Israel's cabinet has convened for the first time in Berlin, in a joint meeting with the German cabinet to symbolise the nations' strong bond 60 years after the Holocaust.

The focus, though, was not on threats gone by but on one that may loom in the future — the possibility of a nuclear-armed Iran.

After the joint session, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned that Iran will face new sanctions if it doesn't change course on its nuclear program.

Netanyahu used the occasion to highlight the gravity of the Iranian threat.

"We know from recent history that a regime that tyrannizes its own people will tyrannize the world," he said.

Germany's efforts to curb Iran's nuclear ambitions figured high on the agenda, and Merkel said her country would back tougher sanctions against Iran if it did not curtail its nuclear program.

"If Iran's reactions don't change, we will help work on comprehensive sanctions," Merkel said.

Germany has long been part of the group of nations seeking to address concerns over Iran's nuclear ambitions, which Israel and most of the West believe is meant to develop weapons. Israel considers a nuclear Iran a threat to its existence and has hinted it might attack Iran if international diplomacy fails.

Netanyahu pressed hard for sanctions, saying the time has come to confront Iran's Islamic regime.

"If we don't apply sanctions, crippling sanctions, against this Iranian tyranny, when shall we apply them?" he asked. "If not now, when?"

A high-ranking Israeli defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity because the talks are in early stages, said Jerusalem has recently begun discussing the possibility of acquiring a sixth submarine built by Germany. It already has three, and two more are under construction. Israel is also interested in German-made Meko-a 100 warships. Israeli officials were expected to ask about purchasing technology used on these ships. Israel would then manufacture its own ship with the technology, the official said.

Environmental issues, economic cooperation and efforts to restart the Middle East peace process were also discussed during the one-day visit by Netanyahu and six of his ministers — including his defense and foreign ministers.

The trip was originally scheduled for late November, but was put off at the last moment when Netanyahu fell ill with a viral infection.

The Cabinet meeting began after a joint visit to Berlin's Holocaust memorial, which consists of a field of 2,711 gray slabs that serve as a tribute to the Holocaust's 6 million Jewish victims.

Netanyahu signed the memorial's guest book with thanks for the "invaluable preservation of the Holocaust."

Israel was established three years after the end of World War II. Since then, Germany has paid $39.4 billion in compensation to Holocaust survivors in Israel, 250,000 of whom are still alive.

Since the two countries established diplomatic ties in 1965, Germany has become perhaps Israel's strongest ally in Europe.

"Germany faces, without flinching for a second, the darkest chapters of its past it order to build a brighter future for its people and for the world," Netanyahu said. "It is something we deeply appreciate, something that has momentous historic significance."

Yesterday's session followed a historic visit in March 2008 by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her Cabinet to mark the 60th anniversary of Israel's independence. During that three-day visit, Merkel addressed the Israeli parliament in German, and expressed shame over the Holocaust. The 20-minute speech earned Merkel a standing ovation.

Israeli and German governments plan to hold joint Cabinet sessions once a year in the future. Germany has such arrangements with five other nations.

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
New Articles
i100... with this review
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
footballTim Sherwood: This might be th match to wake up Manchester City
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
New Articles
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Blahnik says: 'I think I understand the English more than they do themselves'
Arts and Entertainment
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey
TVInside Downton Abbey series 5
Life and Style
The term 'normcore' was given the oxygen of publicity by New York magazine during the autumn/winter shows in Paris in February
fashionWhen is a trend a non-trend? When it's Normcore, since you ask
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Research Manager - Quantitative/Qualitative

£32000 - £42000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam