Merkel Addresses Knesset

German chancellor speaks to lawmakers of Holocaust 'shame'
By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 18, 2008 4:40 PM CDT
Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel, right, sits next to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert during a special session of the Knesset, Israel's parliament, in Jerusalem, Tuesday, March 18, 2008.   (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner,Pool)
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(Newser) – Angela Merkel addressed the Knesset today, speaking to Israel's parliament about Germany's shame over the Holocaust. "I bow to the victims. I bow to all those who helped the survivors," said the chancellor. Five MPs boycotted to protest the speaking of German in the legislative chamber, but Merkel began and ended her address by speaking Hebrew, Reuters reports.

The first German chancellor born since World War II vowed that her country would remain a loyal partner to Israel in the struggle to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. "The German government will, if Iran does not give in, continue to resolutely defend sanctions," Merkel said. The biggest applause came when Merkel closed her speech in Hebrew, saying "Congratulations on the State of Israel's 60th anniversary celebrations. Shalom."