Israel and Germany celebrate 50 years of bilateral diplomatic relations

Israel and Germany celebrate 50 years of bilateral diplomatic relations
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By Sarah Taylor with DEZDF
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Israeli President Reuven Rivlin has been received with military honours in Berlin. He was welcomed by his German counterpart Joachim Gauck at the

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Israeli President Reuven Rivlin has been received with military honours in Berlin. He was welcomed by his German counterpart Joachim Gauck at the capital’s Schloss Bellevue presidential palace.

İsrail Cumhurbaşkanı Reuven Rivlin Almanya'da, Alman Dışişleri Bakanı Ursula von Der Leyen İsrail'de... pic.twitter.com/0NRU6SIe6Z

— Faruk (@farukonalan) May 11, 2015

The visit celebrates 50 years of bilateral diplomatic relations between the two countries. It coincided with an announcement by the Israeli Defence Ministry that the government had bought four German-made corvette warships. The vessels will help secure Israel’s Mediterranean gas rigs, according to the Ministry. Berlin is said to have heavily subsidised the deal.

Laying a wreath at Platform 17 from where 55,000 Berlin Jews were sent to Auschwitz. We must look hatred in the eye. http://t.co/jmldI8QVP2

— Reuven Rivlin (@PresidentRuvi) May 11, 2015

On the eve of the May 12 anniversary, Rivlin visited the ‘Gleis 17’ memorial at Grunewald Station. It marks the spot from where some 50,000 Jews were deported to Nazi concentration camps during World War II.

Welcomed warmly in #Germany. Our friendship isn't compensation for the Holocaust, but built on shared values of democracy & freedom #il50d

— Reuven Rivlin (@PresidentRuvi) May 11, 2015

“Democracy alone does not make us immune to nationalism and fascism,” said Rivlin. “No nation is immune to anti-Semitism. Here, on Platform 17, we must commit to look hatred in the eye.”

He is due to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel on day of the anniversary, with a key topic of discussion expected to be the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Territories.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, Merkel said:
“I am very pleased that the Israeli president is visiting Germany to celebrate 50 years of diplomatic relations between Germany and Israel. In Germany, we believe the two-state solution is the way to achieve lasting peace in the region.”

Merkel has long advocated such a solution to the conflict in the Middle East. Rivlin, however, has repeatedly stated he is firmly against it.

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