THE FOURTH German-Israeli government consultations were held in early December in Berlin under the motto: Innovation – Education – Sustainability. The education ministers agreed to continue to promote collaboration between research institutions and start-up sectors. The ministers responsible for development and cooperation discussed trilateral approaches in agriculture, that is to say, German-Israeli projects aimed at helping third countries, above all in Africa. Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel and Minister President Benjamin Netanyahu also discussed innovation with scientists. In the framework programme, pupils from the Jewish Secondary School in Berlin sang Christmas and Chanukah songs in the Villa Borsig, guesthouse of the Foreign Office. After the talks, Foreign Minister Westerwelle and Netanyahu took part in a ceremony at the “Gleis 17” (Platform 17) memorial at Grunewald railway station in Berlin. During the National Socialist period 55,000 Berlin Jews were deported from this and other Berlin stations.
The Federal Government emphasized that it advocated a Two State Solution in the Near East and that peace talks should therefore be recommenced as soon as possible. Regarding Israel’s settlement policy, an understanding was reached on a diplomatic formula: to agree to disagree. German-Israeli relations were quite capable of tolerating different opinions.