Fifty years on, practical lessons from German-Israeli friendship

Originally printed in The Christian Science Monitor, May 12, 2015.

In a speech marking this week’s 50th anniversary of official ties between Germany and Israel, the German foreign minister made a special plea to the world, one that should not go unnoticed.

Frank-Walter Steinmeier asked that anyone looking at the close friendship forged between Israel and Germany “after the unspeakable cruelty of the past” should not merely praise it in words. The message of this remarkable reconciliation—which was inconceivable 70 years ago—must be put “into practice whenever and wherever possible” in a world still full of conflict and hate, he said.

Three generations on, most Germans and Israeli Jews take the friendship between their countries as a matter of course. Many Israelis enjoy life in Berlin, for example, while Germany helps pay for Israel’s security, backs it in international disputes, and keeps teaching its own youth about the Holocaust. More than two-thirds of Jewish Israelis hold a favorable view of Germany and nearly half have visited it. Israeli literature is very popular in Germany. And last year, Israel gave German Chancellor Angela Merkel its highest civilian award.

Enjoy 1 free Sentinel article or audio program each month, including content from 1898 to today.

'To Bless All Mankind'
Achieving reconciliation
September 21, 2015

We'd love to hear from you!

Easily submit your testimonies, articles, and poems online.