(dpa) - Israel sees German Chancellor Angela Merkel's pending visit as "one of the most important by a head of government in many years," Israel's ambassador to Berlin has said.
The Israeli government had high expectations from the visit, which begins Sunday, Ambassador Yoram Ben-Zeev said in interviews with German newspapers published Thursday.
The fact that Merkel was travelling at the head of a high-level delegation, including several senior members of her cabinet, and was speaking to the Knesset was both "a symbolic gesture and of great practical significance," Ben Zeev told the Leipziger Volkszeitung.
Merkel's planned speech to the Israeli parliament - in German - has drawn criticism in Israel and forced the Knesset to change its rules.
Ben-Zeev said Israel attached great important to Germany's role as a go-between in its links with Europe.
He said Germany also had a role to play in assisting the creation of "viable and democratic state structures" in the Palestinian territories.