Following is Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's statement today (Tuesday, 16 February 2016), in Berlin, at the inter-governmental consultations with Germany:
"It's good to be back here in Berlin. When we are in Germany, we know we're among good friends. I don't say that as a perfunctory remark; I say it from the heart and from the mind. We appreciate deeply your friendship, the constancy of your friendship, and the warm hospitality that you've shown me and my ministers and my entire delegation.
These regular G2G meetings are a testament to the unique partnership which we have today between our nations, and they clearly demonstrate the breadth and scope of the cooperation between our two countries.
At today's G2G meeting, we discussed enhancing even further the many different areas where we work together, and I want to thank you and your fellow ministers and your colleagues in the coalition for being so cooperative, so minded to the achievement of real gains for our peoples – in defense; in security, particularly in the new area that you mentioned of cyber security, where we are all challenged but we also have opportunities and will do better together than separately; in politics and diplomacy, including our work together in Africa. We're already doing things as a result of previous G2G meetings, trying to help countries develop and stem the tide of Islamist terrorism. We're doing that in several countries; we discussed doing it in more countries. In economy and transportation, in healthcare and immigration, in energy and water, in technology and innovation, in education and culture – all of these things are concrete and they're moving forward.
In these and many other areas, our cooperation enables both Germans and Israelis to better meet the challenges and the threats, as well as to seize the technological and scientific promise of the future. Israel and Germany are two advanced countries, real societies, real science, real universities, real technology, real business sector. And this is not obvious. As we look around us, it's not obvious, especially in our part of the world. But by cooperating, we make each other stronger and we are better able to innovate, and the future belongs to those who innovate. You said that, Angela, that we have to constantly improve ourselves, and I think that we can do so better working together.
Now this was our sixth Israel-Germany Government-to-Government meeting. We had one meeting a few years ago, five years ago, which, in the course of the meeting – it was in Jerusalem – we heard of the events that were taking place in Egypt. So the world has changed in the course of these deliberations. And I think one thing has not changed: It is the fact that in the midst of this terrific storm, in the midst of this global turbulence, there is one country in the Middle East that maintains not only an advanced society, a democratic society, an innovative society, but a society that maintains the very values that you here in Europe and you in Germany hold dear. We defend ourselves. There's no question about that. But when so doing, we defend also your values and by being where we are, in the center of the Middle East, by defending our flanks, by defending, by helping defend the neighborhood, we are preventing the addition of as many as a hundred million more people to the tragedy and turbulence of militant Islam.
There are 50 million people in Iraq and in Syria that have been swept into this horror, but they are many more – at least twice as more – that have not been swept into this horror. And if you look at the force of stability, the force of Western values, the force of a basic conception of human rights that we all share, that force is Israel. We are defending ourselves, but in so doing, we're defending our common values. And I would say that was the main point that I wish to impart. And I think, I sensed that this is something that is being received with understanding by my colleagues.
This meeting was a further demonstration of our relationship, which celebrated its 50th anniversary. In that half century, we have built a unique relationship and it's a partnership that has significance far and beyond the confines of this hall. Because it doesn't only bring tangible benefits to both our countries; it also is, I think gives hope to all of mankind. It's an example of how, despite the unparalleled horrors of the past, our two peoples have forged a unique and constructive friendship. And I believe that this offers hope for the entire world.
So, my good friend, Angela, once again, thank you for your hospitality and your welcome and especially your friendship. Thank you. Thank you for your leadership."