“A good future for Israel“

Israel is celebrating the 70th anniversary of its independence. German Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas deliver their congratulations and take the opportunity to look back on German-Israeli relations. 

Germany congratulates Israel on the 70th anniversary of its founding.
Germany congratulates Israel on the 70th anniversary of its founding. dpa

German Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier wrote to congratulate the President of the state of Israel, Reuven Rivlin, on the 70th anniversary of the founding of Israel on 19 April, 2018. He wrote: “Israel celebrates 70 years of independence – and we are joining in the celebrations! Our reconciliation with Israel and our partnership with the country across the abyss of our shared history remains a wonderful achievement. It is both a gift and also a permanent obligation for us Germans. We will not forget that and will for our part contribute to Israel enjoying a good future and maintaining a relationship between Germans and Israelis that is based on trust.

This includes Germany’s ongoing responsibility for our history: the lessons of two world wars, the lessons derived from the Holocaust, our responsibility for Israel’s security and our decisive rejection of racism and anti-Semitism. There can be no exceptions to this responsibility, not for later generations, and not for those who came to Germany later.”

German President Steinmeier and Israel’s ambassador Issacharoff at the start of the anniversary year.

German President Steinmeier and Israel’s ambassador Issacharoff at the start of the anniversary year.
dpa

In an interview with the Jüdische Allgemeine in Berlin German Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas spoke about German-Israeli relations: “This special anniversary makes our fateful link all the more palpable,” he said. “For me our country has a historical responsibility towards Israel arising from the horrific crimes Germans committed against Jews. But I can also say for my own person that I feel a deep personal motivation that guides all my political action.” As recently as March Germany’s new top diplomat made his first formal visit to Israel and spoke in favour of a deepening of relations between the two countries. Above all in the fields of academic exchange and economic cooperation, but also in overcoming global challenges Maas sees potential that both Germany and Israel would like to develop further in coming years.

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas
Foreign Minister Heiko Maas dpa

Moreover, Maas said that Germany and Israel must ask themselves very similar questions about their societies, namely: “How do we deal with populism and the divisions in society? How do we ensure greater solidarity? What opportunities and what risks are inherent in digitalisation? How are we to maintain the leeway needed by open societies given the hostility we face both at home and abroad?” 

Overview: stages of an extraordinary relationship

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