Heiko Maas praises German-Israeli relationship on 70th anniversary of Israel′s founding | News | DW | 13.05.2018
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Heiko Maas praises German-Israeli relationship on 70th anniversary of Israel's founding

Israel celebrates 70 years since its first prime minister announced its independence on May 14, 1948. Berlin's foreign minister has marked the occasion with a commentary lauding the bonds between Germany and Israel.

Israel Yad Vashem visit by German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (Getty Images/AFP/M. Kahana)

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas during a visit to Israel's Yad Vashem museum earlier this year

"The security of Israel and fighting anti-Semitism must always belong to our national identity," German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas wrote in a commentary set to be published on Monday to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of Israel.

In the piece for German daily Bild, Maas wrote: "Even today, we must still take a clear stand against any form of anti-Semitism."

Read more: Germany's Heiko Maas begins Israel trip by visiting Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial

It was "shameful," he added, that German authorities still need to guard Jewish institutions and schools and that German awards were being handed out for "anti-Jewish provocations." The comment was a reference to German rap duo Kollegah and Farid Bang, who won a German music prize in April for an album on which the pair compared their bodies to Auschwitz inmates.

Germans, Maas said, should be "eternally thankful" for the relationship between the two countries, adding: "It is an unspeakable gift for us to be able to take part in the celebrations of Israel's birthday." Despite the strong binds, Maas said both countries were free to criticize the other.

Read more: The Star of David and Germany's national interest

Israel's first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, declared the creation of Israel on May 14, 1948. The country has already commemorated the event on April 19, the founding date according to the Jewish calendar.

Read more: Frank-Walter Steinmeier: Germany still faces anti-Semitism

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amp/dm (dpa, AFP, epd, KNA)

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