50 Years of German-Israeli Diplomatic Relations
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Germany and Israel. On May 12, 1965, the two countries exchanged ambassadors for the first time since the start of World War II. The relationship between Germany and Israel has only grown stronger ever since.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shake hands at the end of their joint press conference in a Jerusalem hotel on February 25, 2014.
Today, Germany is Israel's largest trading partner in Europe. The two nations also collaborate in the fields of science, security and counterterrorism, and have developed a unique interest in one another's cultures.
To mark the 50th anniversary, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin has scheduled a visit to Germany in May. Throughout the year, numerous events, such as the European Maccabi Games, will be held in honor of this date.
Fifty years ago, Germany and Israel agreed to establish diplomatic relations – an important move that was led by West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer and Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion. The agreement was made on May 12, 1965, marking the start of diplomatic relations that have only grown stronger ever since.
Political leaders from Israel and Germany have gathered to honor the anniversary date that led to today’s deep-seated friendship and partnership between the two nations.
Marking the Anniversary
Germany is profoundly aware of the special responsibility it bears toward the Jewish community and toward the State of Israel as a result of the crimes of the Nazi regime. This responsibility, a cornerstone of German policy, requires remembrance, reconciliation and ongoing vigilance - now and in the future.
In celebration of the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Germany and Israel, the 2015 European Maccabi Games will be held in Germany for the first time. The Tel Aviv Museum of Art will also will display 72 of its masterpieces at the Martin-Gropius-Bau Museum in Berlin.
In Berlin, the New Synagogue stands in the heart of the city, its majestic golden dome glistening as part of the city’s skyline. In Tel Aviv, the Goethe Institute’s German language courses are filled to capacity as Israelis increasingly choose to study German. Israeli culture has found its way to Berlin, while interest in Germany continues to rise in Israel.
Years before Germany and Israel established diplomatic relations, scientists and researchers from both countries were already working together, eager to reestablish the productive collaboration that the Nazi regime had put to a violent end.
Science & Education
In an interview, German Ambassador Peter Wittig discusses the 50th anniversary of German-Israeli relations and what it means to him.