Israeli president to attend event marking 50 years of German-Israeli relations

President Reuven Rivlin leaves on Sunday night for a three-day visit to Germany, marking the jubilee of diplomatic relations between Jerusalem and Berlin.

By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin departs on Sunday night for a three-day state trip to Germany, marking 50 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

The visit will include a special address marking the jubilee of diplomatic relations between Israel and Germany as well as meetings with President Joachim Gauck, Chancellor Angela Merkel, President (Speaker) of the Bundestag Norbert Lammert and Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

Rivlin is also slated to lay a wreath at the ‘Platform 17’ memorial to the Jews of Berlin murdered in the Holocaust.

A celebratory concert of the Berlin Philharmonic is scheduled to mark the event, at which Rivlin will be the guest of honor.

Rivlin: ‘From Unforgettable Horrors to Shared Values’

As preparations for the visit drew to a close, President Rivlin said, “My visit to Germany is for me both emotional and deeply significant. Together with the people of Germany, we will mark a long journey. A journey which has brought us from the unforgettable horrors of the past to the shared values of the present, and with cooperation and friendship will lead us to a promising future. I have no doubt that my meetings with the German president, chancellor and senior government officials will help deepen the cooperation between our two peoples and governments. It is important to remember that our friendship is in no way compensation for the Holocaust, it is built on a basis of shared values, after Germany accepted upon itself responsibility for that dark period.  Today, we are thriving, with the values of democracy and freedom of expression, having been able to learn the lessons of the past.”

Relations between Israel and Germany were established gradually, beginning with the signing of the controversial Reparations Agreement in 1952 according to which Germany paid Israel damages for the crimes it committed against the Jewish people during the Holocaust. These vast sums of money were key in jumpstarting Israel’s fledging economy.

Close Cooperation in Several Areas

After the development of relations on an economic level, political relations were officially established between West Germany and Israel in 1965, 24 years before the fall of the Berlin Wall. Over the years there has been a significant strengthening of bilateral relations between Jerusalem and Berlin and the forging of close cooperation in the political, security, economic, and cultural fields.

One of the byproducts of this relationship is close military collaboration. Germany recently approved the delivery of the fifth of six advanced submarines Germany had promised to Israel.

Israel received the fourth submarine in September, another step in a seven-year joint submarine project between Israel and Germany.