Relations Between Israel and Germany Are 'Not Normal,' Says Israeli Envoy

Ambassador Yakov Hadas-Handelsman urges more Germans to visit Israel 'to better understand themselves.'

Ofer Aderet
Ofer Aderet
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The Israeli ambassador to Germany called relations between the two countries "abnormal" and urged Germans to visit Israel in order to "understand themselves better."

In an interview published Monday in the Morgenpost newspaper, Yakov Hadas-Handelsman was asked his views about Germans who say the fact that Israelis travel to Germany proves "everything is normal and everything is good."

He responded, "Of course nothing is normal We lost a third of our nation – that is not something that can be repaired."

At the same time, Hadas-Handelsman said, Germany has learned from its experience with the Holocaust and applies those lessons even today. "When the discussion about banning circumcision began, Chancellor Merkel immediately came out against a ban," he said. "Otherwise everyone would have said, only 70 years after the Nazis, it's happening again. The Germans have learned from their past."

His interview was published on the occasion of International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Hadas-Handelsman also commented on Finance Minister Yair Lapid's remarks last year warning Israelis not to abandon Israeli because life is easier in Berlin. "The debate [his remarks unleashed] proves that Berlin is still not a normal place [for Israelis]. It's not like Israelis who live in New York or Paris," the envoy said. "Berlin was the source of evil. It's where it all started."

However, Hadas-Handelsman said the special relationship between Israel and Germany has also produced collaborations that are unrelated to the Holocaust, such as high-tech projects. He suggested more Germans visit Israel "not just for us, but so they can understand themselves better," he said.

Yakov Hadas-Handelsman Credit: Wikimedia Commons