(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Agriculture Minister Yair Shamir (Yisrael Beytenu) returned last week from his first visit to Berlin. The minister's visit was a private trip and came as public discussion in Israel focused on a group called "Olim L'Berlin" (Moving to Berlin) that encourages Israelis to relocate to the German capital due to the lower cost of living there. The group captured the public's imagination when it publicized that a price of a chocolate breakfast pudding in Germany was significantly cheaper than in Israel.
"I saw at the train stations in Berlin the list of locations where Jews were sent to be murdered," Sharoni told Maariv Hashavua newspaper, The Jerusalem Post's Hebrew sister publication.
"I pity the Israelis who no longer remember the Holocaust and abandoned Israel for a pudding. Whoever is willing to sell his or her Jewish heritage for that has the right to do so. But they don't understand the significance that Europe is becoming more Muslim. It is very shortsighted to ignore what took place in Germany only 60-70 years ago," Shamir said.
"There is no hocus-pocus. To live in Israel is to sacrifice with your blood," he added.
When asked whether his visit to Germany contradicts the values that his father, the late former prime minister Yitzhak Shamir imparted to him, Shamir the son replied, "I was with friends on a private trip after they finally persuaded me to come."
Shamir said the city was interesting but the trip was probably his last to the German capital, although he said he couldn't guarantee that
"I believe that the saying about Germany, 'never forget and never forgive,' still holds. But I don't boycott. When I returned home to Israel I breathed a sigh of relief and I told friends how fun it was to be home."
Shamir said he appreciated the great efforts being made in Berlin to memorialize the Holocaust.
The Ministry of Agriculture is responsible for the prices of most food products including fruit, vegetables and meat. The minister said that placing price controls on a wide variety of products without solving the cost problem at all the different levels of the food production chain will not work.
Shamir added that an inter-ministerial committee should be formed to tackle the issue of the cost of living in Israel in general.
"It is true that it is expensive to live in Israel. It is true that it is cheaper to live in Mumbai. But I would not trade Israel for any other place in the world no matter how cheap. That being said, the issue of the high cost of living must be dealt with," the minister concluded.