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A Special Relationship

50 Years of German-Israeli Relations

Fifty years after the then West Germany and Israel established diplomatic relations, ties between the two countries have improved significantly. And Germans and Israelis are getting closer in everyday life as well.

They are flocking to Germany, and especially to Berlin. That young Israelis would want to live here of all places at all was until recently still hard to imagine. They come for better job opportunities, because of love, because of the more favorable cost of living or because they feel safer and freer in Germany than in their home country – a fact that often meets with incomprehension from older and more conservative Israelis. And young Germans are no longer tending to go to Israel for a short time as some sort of symbolic atonement but are focusing their lives there for many years. In Israel, attitudes to Germans have become more relaxed, as shown, for example, by the nomination of a German, the Rhinelander Tom Franz, as Israel’s best TV chef in 2013.

What do the younger generation feel about the relationship?

21.04.2015 DW Doku Auf immer verbunden Tom Franz Thomas und Kameramann

Author Thomas Hasel shooting with TV chef Tom Franz and cameraman Jean-Marc Zylberyng.

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Germany and Israel, DW author Thomas Hasel looked at the lives of two young Israelis in Germany and two Germans in Israel. He looks at how they perceive the relationship between Israelis and Germans today. Does the weight of history between the two peoples still play a very big role in the lives of the protagonists and if so, what? Are there still mutual reservations and prejudices? And what effect do current political circumstances – such as the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians or the increase in anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic sentiment in Germany have on their lives?

The past can be overcome

21.04.2015 DW Doku Auf immer verbunden Rilli mit Freund

Israeli Rilli Willow and the German Benedict Bindewald have been married since the end of 2014.

The film meets four people who are well aware of both past and still existing conflicts, but who are at the same time working to overcome them. They try to take a more easy-going approach to history and look more to the future instead. Their personal stories clearly show the complexity of the special relationship between Israelis and Germans today. In particular, all four protagonists stand for one big idea: they are proof that two peoples and two states can put even the darkest shared history behind them and move into a more peaceful and relaxed present – as long as all sides want it and earnestly strive to achieve it.

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