“Enthusiastic, zionist speech”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's speech to the Knesset drew mixed reactions in the Israeli press. The daily "Haaretz" writes in its Wednesday edition: "It used to be customary to scrutinize speeches by German politicians and watch with suspicion how generous they are in their apologies."Merkel gave an "enthusiastic, Zionist speech," the paper says, quoting her as saying, "The Holocaust fills us Germans with shame. I bow my head before the victims."

Gideon Levy headlines in the TV review of "Haaretz": "Germany above all". Television had repeatedly emphasized that this was a historic visit. "Historically or not – it was pretty boring," Levy said. The event will probably not be remembered in the history books.The daily Yediyot Achronot picked up on the fact that Merkel spoke in the Knesset of Germany's responsibility for the Holocaust. At the same time, 52 percent of respondents to a poll on two German television networks would have answered that Germany no longer needs to have a special responsibility toward Israel today. Only 42 percent had been the catch, the Germans must still feel a special responsibility.Regarding the protests by parliamentarians against Merkel's appearance, the newspaper wrote: "Arab parliamentarians demonstratively avoided applauding after Merkel's speech and left the hall."Haaretz" notes that parliamentarian Arie Eldad held a reading of the poem "To the mound of corpses in the snow" parallel to the Knesset session. Left-leaning Shelly Yechimowitz, daughter of Holocaust survivors, had surprisingly boycotted the meeting; she called the decision to allow a speech in German "obtuseness".

"Discussion about German language long since settled" "Maariv" headlined: "60 years after that war, the chancellor made history."In it, former Knesset chairman and chairman of the Yad Vashem memorial, Shevach Weiss, writes: "Even today there are words in the German language, such as 'Achtung!' that send shivers down my spine." Nevertheless, for him "the discussion about the German language in the Knesset has long been settled," the Holocaust survivor said.Weiss goes on to write: "Times change, and so do the people. 63 years have passed after the Second World War." Merkel was born after the war: "I do not want to adopt the racial doctrine of the Nazis and condemn all subsequent generations of Germans," Weiss said. That would cross the line of hypocrisy.

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