Fifty years ago on May 12, 1965, as the agreement establishing German-Israeli diplomatic relations was signed, no one could have imagined that Israel and Germany would be the close allies they are today. Relations between Israel and Germany developed against the background of Nazi Germany's role in the genocide of the Jewish people during the Holocaust. Two statesmen, David Ben-Gurion, one of the founders and first Prime Minister of Israel, and Konrad Adenauer, the first Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany made it possible, against all odds, for the two countries to engage in direct exchange. The way was paved mainly by the civil societies on each side. They built the important bridges between people in both countries.
Israel and Germany share the same values of democracy, pluralism and free society, open and liberal economy, freedom of expression, religion and the press. They have common interests in a large variety of fields, mainly scientific research and culture. In today's globalized world Israel and Germany face many common challenges, which can only be tackled together. Cooperation and shaping new commonalities and goals are in the foreground of the relations between our countries, sectors and societies.
A sample of the variety of interfaces is being presented in both countries during the year of the jubilee.
Information and the central event calendar are available on the official bilateral website: www.israel50deutschland.org
Ambassador of the State of Israel to Germany
In 2003, the White City of Tel-Aviv was proclaimed a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to its many buildings designed in the international style known as Bauhaus architecture.
The Bauhaus school was founded in Germany after WWI. Its goal was to provide an innovative solution suitable to the high social standards of that time. New construction technologies enabled by the industrial revolution were utilized by the school.
Bauhaus architecture is simple and clean, with no unnecessary ornamentation. This was an expression of what was known in German as "Neue Sachlichkeit" - The New Objectivity. It is based on functional design intended to provide high quality living for people from all realms of society.
The fifth Aliyah (1933-1939) brought numerous wealthy people to Eretz Israel, along with many construction professionals. The population also increased greatly, creating a severe housing shortage.
The new style of building provided a solution to this problem, as well as a way to differentiate "Hebrew" construction from both the local Eastern style and the classic European style that raised extremely difficult memories.
The international architectural style inspired by the modern movement provided unique local solutions suited to the geographical area as well as to the spirit of the place.
The "German'' Aliyah left its mark on more than the architecture itself. Many construction-related German words, such as "spachtel" (putty knife) are used in
Hebrew to this day.
In the 50th year of Israeli-German diplomatic relations, Germany contributed to the establishment of a heritage center in the White City, recognizing the significance of the presence of this international style of architecture in Tel Aviv as an expression of the two countries' common culture and history. The center was founded in order to strengthen the mutual ties and cooperation between these nations.
Architect Sharon Golan Yaron
Conservation Department, Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality