German President Considers Israel Visit


German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier is considering a trip to Israel to meet with the families of Israeli athletes murdered at the 1972 Munich Olympics, a senior Israeli official told Yediot on Wednesday, to convince them to take part in a ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of the massacre after they threatened to boycott the event due to what they deemed insufficient compensation by the Germans.

The official said the Germans feel they need to reconcile with the Israelis after Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas compared crimes against the Palestinians to the Holocaust during a meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin on Tuesday, drawing Israel’s ire.

Abbas made the remarks, accusing Israel of committing “50 Holocausts” against the Palestinians, after refusing to apologize for the massacre of 11 Israeli athletes by Palestinian terrorists affiliated with his Fatah movement half a century ago.

Scholz did not react verbally to Abbas’s comment at the moment, though he grimaced at the use of the word, which Abbas uttered in English. Scholz later said the use of the term in such a context was “unbearable.”

The official noted, however, that Steinmeier would only travel to Israel if a better offer is presented to the families of the victims.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Yair Lapid is expected to talk with Scholz on Thursday on the issue of compensation for the families. The conversation was scheduled before Abbas made his controversial remarks.

The Prime Minister’s Office said it is looking into the possibility of Lapid making a trip to Berlin and meeting with the chancellor in person next month.

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