Israel and Germany marked the start of celebrations for the jubilee year to their diplomatic ties on Wednesday with a Hanukkah party at the Israeli ambassador’s home in Berlin.
German President Joachim Gauck was on hand to light the traditional menorah candles at the Berlin home of the Israeli ambassador, Yakov Hadas-Handelsman, and revealed that his Israeli counterpart, President Reuven Rivlin, will visit Germany during 2015.
“We are in the jubilee year of ties, the year in which President Rivlin will also arrive in May for a state visit,” Gauck said. “We are working together to ensure that our special and friendly relations will deepen. Germay will always stand by Israel. Friendship is proven in difficult times as well.”
Rivlin’s visit is scheduled to take place on May 12, the anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties.
“Israel and Germany share values and a common vision for the future and are working to increase the unique cooperation between the countries in various fields,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
During the jubilee celebrations dozens of events are planned in both Germany and Israel, toward which Israel has budgeted NIS 4 million ($1 million).
The aim of the programs, formulated by the Foreign Ministry together with other ministries, is to strengthen the connection of the younger German generation to Israel and its society, the ministry said.
During the year a delegation of young Germans is scheduled to visit Israel, and an exhibition from the Tel Aviv Art Museum will go on display in the Martin-Gropius-Bau Museum in Berlin. The annual Leipzig Book Fair is to be dedicated to Israel. Likewise, the Berlin Children’s theater festival will focus on Israeli creations.
There will also be a joint ceremonies in each of the two countries on International Holocaust Memorial day on January 27. Israel and Germany are also planning to issue joint stamps during 2015.
After the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 opinions in Jerusalem were divided on whether to open ties with Germany amid bitter resentment over the Holocaust. After reparation arrangements were hammered out over the years, in 1965 the decision was finally made to formally establish diplomatic relations, and the two countries have maintained close cultural, trade, and military ties ever since.