Merkel in Israel says Iran must not obtain nuclear arms

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"Iran can not be next to Israel's border in Syria in the Golan", Merkel said in a joint conference with Netanyahu during her visit to the Jewish state on Thursday.

In a speech to the UN General Assembly, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: "Instead of coddling Iran's dictators, join the U.S. and Israel and most of the Arab world in supporting new sanctions against a regime that endangers all of us and all of the world".

Despite their conspicuous disagreement on the issue of the Iran nuclear deal, Merkel echoed Israel's concerns over the Islamic Republic's acquisition of nuclear weapons.

"From this comes the everlasting responsibility of Germany to remember this crime and to oppose anti-Semitism, xenophobia, hatred and violence", she said, reading the message she wrote in the memorial s guest book.

The German Chancellor Angela Merkel is due to arrive to Israel on Wednesday evening for a 24-hour visit, although no meetings were scheduled with Palestinian officials.

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Route 1 was closed to traffic as Merkel rode to Jerusalem, and there was tight security at the King David Hotel - where world leaders stay on visits to the city - with streets closed off, police manning barricades and a helicopter circling overhead.

She added that Iran's military presence in Syria and Lebanon was a threat to Israel.

During that three-day visit, Merkel addressed the Israeli parliament, in German, and expressed shame over the Holocaust.

Earlier in the day, the German leader vowed to prevent a nuclear Iran as she spoke with Haifa University students in Jerusalem on Thursday morning.

Netanyahu has been one of Trump's staunchest global supporters, lauding him for pulling out of the Iranian nuclear deal that Merkel and other world leaders helped negotiate in 2015. European countries and human rights organization have urged Israel to cancel the demolition.

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Merkel had dinner on Wednesday night with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Prime Minister's Residence. There has been no shortage of controversy ahead of this week's visit.

The two leaders also attended a joint government meeting Thursday afternoon was focused on economic ties, innovation and technology, while noting the consultations have been in place for 10 years.

Felix Klein, who heads the German government s fight against anti-Semitism, was part of the delegation. Fears over a resurgence in anti-Semitism in Germany are expected to be discussed.

Netanyahu s criticism of Europe related to Iran has been especially strong, and last week at the UN General Assembly he accused European Union nations of "appeasement".

At the same time, Germany has remained steadfast in its support for a two-state solution and in recent weeks joined calls against Israel's planned demolition of a Bedouin village located in a strategic area of the occupied West Bank. Yoram Ben-Zeev, a former Israeli ambassador to Germany, said Merkel would likely only "go through the motions" during the visit on issues related to the conflict with the Palestinians. "Why should she put her hands in the fire?"

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Netanyahu also blamed Palestinian Authroity (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas' government in the West Bank for crippling sanctions in Gaza, which he said contributed to Hamas' desperate border attacks against Israel.

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