Christian Democratic Union CDU party leader and German Chancellor Angela Merkel reacts after winning the German general election (Bundestagswahl) in Berlin, Germany, September 24, 2017..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Israel on Monday welcomed the re-election of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, but had no formal reaction to the rise of the far right Alternative for Germany (AfD) Party.
At a Rosh Hashana toast in his office, Netanyahu told workers that Israel has many friends in the world, and “another friend, Angela Merkel has just won the German government elections.”
Then, in an apparent reference to his own political future and the four elections he has won – something now matched by Merkel – he said, “It is good that someone wins for the fourth time; it is a sign for the fifth.”
Already on Sunday evening, when Merkel's victory was announced, Netanyahu – who has had a somewhat strained relationship with the German leader because of her opposition to his settlement policies – wrote on Twitter: “Congratulations to Angela #Merkel, a true friend of Israel, on her re-election as Chancellor of Germany.”
Netanyahu had nothing to say about the success of the AfD party, which surprisingly captured some 13% of the vote.
While the Foreign Ministry has in the past recommended that Israel not engage with some of the far-right European parties, such as Austria's Freedom Party and Sweden's Sweden Democrat Party, no policy has yet been established toward the AfD.
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