JERUSALEM -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel earned a standing ovation from Israel's parliament Tuesday after pledging to stand by Israel's side against any threat, particularly from Iran, and paying tribute to the victims of the Holocaust.Quote has been trimmed
In an emotional speech, Merkel said Germans are still "filled with shame" about the Nazi genocide of 6 million Jews. Yet her extraordinarily warm reception by the Jewish state also signaled that the two nations are increasingly willing to look to the future.
Germany has proven a staunch ally of Israel, particularly since Merkel became chancellor in 2005. Israel's leaders said they are counting on Germany to take a lead in diplomatic efforts to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.
"I think that we were able to open a new chapter in German-Israeli relations," Merkel later told Germany's n-tv television, brushing aside suggestions that her strong support for Israel could make Germany appear biased against the Palestinians. "We're on Israel's side and despite that, and perhaps because of that, on the side of the peace process," she said.
Protests against her speaking in German to the Knesset were mild; in 2000, then-German President Johannes Rau broke that taboo. Just a handful of lawmakers stayed away Tuesday, and even the most outspoken among them, Arye Eldad, said he considered Merkel a friend of Israel but couldn't bear hearing the...