On Wednesday, in Berlin, the Israel Foreign Ministry officially launched the events marking the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Israel and Germany. The event took place in the residence of Israel Ambassador Yakov Hadas-Handelsman, with the participation of German President Joachim Gauck, who joined the ambassador in lighting the Hanukkah candles.
This event is an important landmark in the deep relations between the two countries. Alongside memories of the past and a complex and variegated history, Israel and Germany share common values and a vision for the future, and are working to increase cooperation in a wide variety of fields. Today, the special relations between the countries is expressed in many areas, including policy-making, diplomacy, business, science, culture and more.
Speaking at the ceremony, German President Gauck said: "We have begun the 50th jubilee year, during which Israeli President Rivlin will come to Germany for a state visit in May. While we will certainly not forget the past, more importantly: We will look forward, we will work together to ensure that our special, friendly relations continue to deepen. Germany will always stand on the side of Israel, with a friendship that has been proven even in difficult times."
Dozens of events in many fields will be held during the 50th anniversary year, both in Germany and in Israel. To this end, the government of Israel has allocated a special budget of NIS 4 million. These events, led by the Israel Foreign Ministry in coordination with other government ministries, are guided by the desire to strengthen the ties of the young generation in Germany to the State of Israel and Israeli society.
These events will include, for example, a visit to Israel by a delegation of promising young people from Germany, and an art exhibit by the Tel Aviv Museum of Art to be displayed at the Martin-Gropius-Bau museum in Berlin. The annual book fair in Leipzig will be dedicated to Israel, and a children's theater festival in Berlin will focus on Israeli plays.
The jubilee program also includes official events and ceremonies. President Rivlin will visit Berlin in May to mark the anniversary of the establishment of relations with Germany (May 12), a joint event on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, a joint Israeli-German postage stamp, and more.
Beyond these events, the year 2015 will provide an opportunity to launch new long-term cooperative projects, in order to further strengthen the ties between the two peoples. One such project is the "New Kibbutz", in which young Germans from Bavaria will spend several months as interns in Israeli high-tech companies. This project, which promises to be economically profitable while forging ties between young Israelis and Germans, is a good example of the varied and intentisve activity which we can expect to mark the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Israel and Germany.
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