German President Christian Wulff began his morning on Sunday with a first official visit to Israel since taking office. He was welcomed with an official ceremony held at the Presidential residence in Jerusalem, where he met with President Shimon Peres, who later accompanied him on a tour of the Holocaust museum Yad Vashem.
Wulff, Germany's first president born after WWII placed a garland at Yad Vashem in memory of Holocaust victims, promising his country will forever fight for Israel's safety.
Wulff entered his new position only a few months ago, and his visit to Israel is his first official visit outside of the European Union.
He said he requested that his first visit outside of Europe be to Israel, in order to express how the relationship between Germany and Israel is dear to his heart.
He added that Germany sees itself as responsible to ensure the existence and safety of Israel, a sense of responsibility he feels must be passed on from generation to generation. He explained that this is the reason he had requested to allow teens to join him on his visit.
German President Christian
Wulff (left) in Yad Vashem
Peres thanked his guest for the visit, saying that it shows Israel where his intentions lay. He continued saying how important Israel's relationship with Germany is, adding that German leaders and the majority of the German people remember the past and feel that there should always be a unique bond between the countries. Peres said that both countries have a responsibility to educate children to remember the past and to also take responsibility for the future.
Regarding political issues, Wulff said he agrees with Peres that the best way to ensure Israel's security in the long run is through a just peace process in the area, based on a two-states principal with secured and defined borders.
Wulff promised to discuss the issue with the Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization Abu Mazen, during his visit to Bethlehem this week following his stay in Israel.
Wulff and Peres went on to visit Yad Vashem, accompanied by Yad Vashem Directorate Chairman Avner Shalev and Wulff's 17 year old daughter, Annalena. The German president participated in a memorial ceremony for the Holocaust victims, signed the guest book and placed a flower by the name engraving of his German hometown.
At the end of the ceremony Wulff read aloud what he had written in the guest book, saying that the "inconceivable crimes of the Holocaust force Germany and the Germans to act in order to ensure Israel's existence."