Germany’s new president made his first official trip to Israel, intent on meeting his counterpart in the Jewish state.
Shimon Peres officially received Joachim Gauck, who was elected to the presidential post in March, at the start of the German politico’s three-day visit. In the exchange, Gauck claimed the two nations are “more closely tied than ever before.” Peres also spoke of the “close friendship” between Israel and Germany.
The pair discussed Iran’s nuclear threat, with Gauck saying, “Iran is a threat not only to Israel but also to Europe.” He iterated that the current nuclear talks with the Islamic republic “must yield concrete results.”
The German president also took a moment to address recent controversy over a seemingly anti-Israel poem published by Günter Grass, one of Germany’s most famous writers.
"I want to say that I don't in any way agree with what he said, and I categorically state that Günter Grass' position is not in line with German policy on Israel," Gauck said.
Gauck will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman during his time in Israel. In closing, Gauck will travel to Ramallah in the West Bank to speak with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday.
The politician will also tour Yad Vashem and meet with surviving members of the 1972 Israeli Olympic team, which lost eleven of its members to a terrorist scheme 40 years ago at the Munich games.