German-Israeli ties remain 'ambivalent': Stein

9th May 2005, Comments 0 comments

9 May 2005, BERLIN - Relations between Germany and Israel continue to be ambivalent even four decades after formal diplomatic ties were established, according to Israel's ambassador to Berlin Shimon Stein.

9 May 2005

BERLIN - Relations between Germany and Israel continue to be ambivalent even four decades after formal diplomatic ties were established, according to Israel's ambassador to Berlin Shimon Stein.

"To this day in Israel there is a certain ambivalence," he told Deutsche Presse-Agentur in an interview on Saturday. "On the one hand Germany is viewed as the perpetrators and on the other hand it is seen as a post-war nation of democracy, prosperity and also of football," Stein said.

"But both countries have succeeded in bridging the historical gap," he added.

He noted that Germany had acknowledged its debt and responsibility for the Holocaust and had made enormous strides in coming to terms with its past.

"But that process does not end when 'X' number of years have gone by," he said.

Instead, he called the process of reconciliation a "continuing duty" that will become even more challenging in the future as World War Two fades into history and the viewpoints of both the perpetrators and their victims change with different generations.

"The challenge is how one continues to deal with one's own history at a point in time when memories have turned to history," he said.

The diplomat stressed that a partnership now exists between the two nations that must be filled with new aspects. One of those is the growing influence of the expanding European Union.

"The EU is an important and indispensable partner for us," he said. "That pertains not only to the economic scope of the market but also to goals in foreign policy and security."

Stein stressed the importance of cultural exchanges between the two nations, saying, "We have both committed ourselves to a mutual cultural accord. The date of signing is only a matter of time."

He said cultural ties are of central importance to reconciliation.

"We have achieved much and want to intensify cultural exchanges," he said.

DPA

Subject: German news

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