Germany’s foreign minister is set to receive an honorary doctorate from none other than Hebrew University later this month, as Israel and Germany mark 50 years of friendship. Just 20 years after the end of the Holocaust, Israel and Germany embarked on the process of healing their international relationship, with German official Frank-Walter Steinmeier the latest notable beneficiary.
The German foreign minister will receive his honorary doctorate on May 31, at which time he will also present a speech on Israel-German relations, according to a press release from Hebrew University. The press release praised Steinmeier for his support for Israel, a position he himself highlighted in a recent speech.
“Israel’s security is a historical imperative for Germany and an integral part of our friendship,” said Steinmeier in comments released by his office. One area he said that was important is the negotiations with Iran over the latter’s nuclear program, in which Germany is a key participant.
“It’s clear that at the end of the day only an agreement which ensures more—and never less—security for Israel will be signed,” said the top German diplomat.
While Germany and Israel sometimes disagree on issues, most notably on the Palestinian conflict, the sides are in strong agreement about other matters, such as anti-Semitism.
“Here at home we must stand up against any form of anti‑Semitism, racism and xenophobia—there must never again be room for any of that in our society,” said Steinmeier.
Hebrew University was not sparing in their compliments of the German foreign minister, noting his practical support for Israel goes beyond speeches.
“He is a frequent visitor who meets with Israel’s political leaders, takes a deep interest in the country’s art and culture, and has actively encouraged the development of Israel-Germany trade and business relations,” said the press release. “Dr. Steinmeier is vociferous in his criticism of any form of anti-Semitic act or expression shown toward Israel.”
Steinmeier, meanwhile, pointed to Germany and Israel’s reconciliation as an example for the world.
“Anyone who looks at Germany and Israel’s friendship and remembers the dismal depths that it has grown out of will see that hope is not necessarily a manifestation of naivety – quite the opposite,” said he.
“And anyone who realizes this must also take to heart the message of reconciliation and understanding embodied by this friendship, and must not only praise it in words but put it into practice whenever and wherever possible.”
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, May 11, 2015)