Prime Minister Naftali Bennett made the following remarks, today (Sunday, 10 October 2021), at the joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel:

"I am pleased, again, to welcome Chancellor Merkel – a true friend of the state of the Jews, the State of Israel – here in Jerusalem.

The extraordinary warmth that you are receiving in Israel is noteworthy. Despite the fact that you are the leader of Germany and this is the state of the Jews, we in Israel are full of appreciation for you and the historic role you have fulfilled and that we hope you will continue to fill.

Your commitment to the security of the State of Israel is also in actions, not just in gestures and words. I want to thank you, on behalf of all of us, for the clear and vigorous voice of support for Israel in Germany, in Europe and everywhere you go.

The State of Israel is a lighthouse in a stormy sea, the only democracy in a region blighted by extremism, which deals with enemies on all sides, and which deserves the support of the world, especially the support of the democratic countries.

There is self-evident equality in Israel between men and women, and between Jews and non-Jews. Israel aspires to grow and prosper for the good of its citizens and to contribute our knowledge and innovation to the world.

We are investing in ourselves, but our enemies, especially Iran, are obsessed with us and are prepared to pay very high prices, to cause genuine suffering to their people, in order to confront us with an existential threat.

Madam Chancellor, the Iranian nuclear program has reached a stage that requires leadership. Acceptance of Iran becoming a nuclear threshold state will be a moral stain on the free world and – even moreso – will threaten world peace.

We see how the Iranians are acting at the moment, without a nuclear umbrella, in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen, Gaza and the Gulf.

One can only imagine the extent of the damage they would cause if the world knew that behind this bullying there was also a nuclear weapon. There is no point in trying to appease the Iranians; they interpret conciliation as a weakness. They continue to thrive in the international community, playing for time while constantly advancing uranium enrichment and destabilizing the region. This is a critical point, and Germany's position is particularly important.

We in Israel are engaged in actions and are countering Iran at all levels, including daily containment of their attempts to flood our region with weapons.

Madam Chancellor, relations between Israel and Germany, in all aspects, are very good, but there is always room for improvement and progress and we already made progress in our very good working meeting this morning. The connection between the Israeli innovation sector and industry in Germany has tremendous potential that we must realize and act upon. Also regarding the coronavirus, there is an exchange of information and a tightening of ties. There are many other areas, which this is not the place to mention.

Madam Chancellor, we are very pleased with your visit here, the seventh, and we hope there will be many more after it. You leave behind very good relations between Israel and Germany, and a legacy of knowing the Holocaust, understanding the difficult past, along with a commitment and contribution to the security of the State of Israel. We remember that, and history will remember that."