Europe

German president says Israel ties solid despite recent spat

Germany's president says his country's relations with Israel "experienced turbulent winds" but that the foundation remains solid — a reference to a recent diplomatic spat over an Israeli anti-occupation group.

Frank-Walter Steinmeier said after a meeting with his Israeli counterpart, Reuven Rivlin, that any disagreements, "as there have been in the past, they do not endanger these foundations."

Two weeks earlier, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu canceled talks with the German foreign minister because the visitor chose to meet Breaking the Silence, a group of former Israeli combat soldiers-turned-whistleblowers who oppose Israel's rule over the Palestinians.

Netanyahu said after meeting with Steinmeier on Sunday that Israel has a "unique partnership" with Germany. In an apparent dig at Breaking the Silence, Netanyahu said Israeli troops have "moral standards second to none."