8ca5e281c2e6c3074c0f6a7067004508Chancellor Angela Merkel said Monday that she is visiting Israel with most of her new cabinet in order to show Germany’s friendship with the Jewish state and that her country is working to secure the future of Israel.  Merkel was speaking at an evening press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Germany is Israel’s closest European ally and holds an annual joint Cabinet session with its Israeli counterparts. Recently, however, tensions with Europe, and also Germany, have raised over West Bank settlement policies. “We have come here with almost the whole of our new government and we wanted to show you in this way that this is indeed a very strong friendship,” Merkel said in German and relayed in English through a translator. More