An Israeli tourism official said he does not feel comfortable traveling to Germany because of its Nazi history. His statements come just a month after other members of the Israeli government took a trip to Germany for an annual session with their German counterparts.
Speaking to Israeli newspaper Israel Hayom, Yariv Levin said Saturday that the notion of visiting the German state makes him “uneasy.” Levin is a member of the ruling Likud party in Israel, whose members include Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“I see great importance in the relationship between Israel and Germany,” Levin said, according to the Jerusalem Post. “Within that context, I have met with German officials more than once here in Israel. However, I do feel uneasy visiting Germany.”
Levin isn’t the only Israeli official to have shied away from official visits there. Last month, while Netanyahu and other senior government officials traveled to Germany, Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz decided to stay behind.
“As a son of survivors, I do not travel to Germany,” Katz said at the time. “My father escaped on a train from Budapest, and my mother was imprisoned in seven concentration camps in Germany and Poland by the time she was 15.”
Levin made his statements a day before the anti-refugee Alternative für Deutschland Party made significant gains in German regional elections, according to the Guardian. The group’s rise comes on the back of heightened tensions in Europe as a stream of asylum-seekers from Northern Africa and the Middle East has made its way into the continent.
The issue became particularly salient after the November 2015 Paris terrorist attacks, in which over 100 people were gunned down in the French capital. Many initially blamed the attack on refugees or immigrants who had entered from war-torn areas.