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Netanyahu says Merkel's election win bodes well for his own political future

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem on November 13, 2016
Ronen Zvulun (Pool/AFP)
Netanyahu offered no comment on the surge of the far-right AfD

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu again congratulated Angela Merkel on her re-election as German Chancellor on Monday and hinted that her win is a good omen for his own efforts to extend his place at the top of Israeli politics. 

"We have many friends. Another friend, Angela Merkel has just won the German government elections," Netanyahu told a gathering of employees from his office to mark the Jewish New Year. 

"It is good that someone wins for the fourth time; it is a sign for the fifth," he added.

When Israel next goes to the polls, Netanyahu will be seeking to win his fifth term as head of government. He first won the prime ministership in 1996, before losing to Ehud Barak in 1999. He is currently serving a third consecutive term after regaining the helm in 2009. 

While his Likud party still garners the most seats in recent surveys, his political future has come under a cloud amid a string of reported police investigations into suspicions of bribery. His wife, Sara Netanyahu, was informed earlier this month that she will face an indictment hearing, likely in November, on charges relating to alleged misuse of government funds

In a brief message posted to Twitter on Sunday night, Netanyahu also publicly congratulated Merkel on her election win, adding she's a "true" friend of the Jewish State.

Merkel on Sunday celebrated her fourth election win in an vote that also saw the rise of a hard-right opposition party. Despite her success, the election weakened both Merkel's conservatives and the center-left Social Democrats, handing both their worst results in decades.

Opposition parliamentarian Nachman Shai, who serves as the Chairman of the Israel-Germany Parliamentary Friendship forum, said in a statement that "Of course, the results of Germany's democratic elections must be respected, but they are a great warning sign for Israel and even for the Jewish people."

"The rise of the extreme right in Germany is indicative of dangerous moods that are growing stronger, the Labor MK added. "Xenophobia, racism and extremism occupy a significant portion of the German public and prove that the democratic stratum is fragile and vulnerable.

"The next term of Chancellor Merkel, one of Israel's great friendships among world leaders, must be characterized by a thorough examination of the change taking place in Germany and the blocking of erosion to the right. "

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