In Kohl’s the first years as Chancellor, there was often misunderstanding between Germany and Israel, especially during his visit. The have changed, says former Israeli Ambassador Avi Primor.
Deutsche Welle: According to Willy Brandt’s trip to Israel in 1973, on a visit to Helmut Kohl in January 1984 for the second Time, a German Chancellor, Israel. The Visit was under the worst possible sign. The relationship between the two governments since a violent confrontation between Helmut Schmidt and Menachem Begin in 1981, very tense. How would you describe the Era Kohl in the relationship between Israel and Germany?
Avi Primor: There was a heated discussion between Helmut Kohl’s predecessor and Begin, that’s true. But not between Germany and Israel. The relations were not bad. You already have a year before Menachem Begin was started in 1977, Prime Minister. In terms of Helmut Kohl: It was a difficult beginning. There were quite a few misunderstandings at the beginning. On both sides there were a lot of inhibitions. But then, the relations have developed so well as never before between Germany and Israel.
Then the Era of cabbage was so very formative for the very close relationship between Germany and Israel.
This time is considered in Israel as a happy Era. These years have made the relationships, of course. Of course, there were inhibitions, and sometimes even problems. But the ratio was normal, at least for Israel.
Avi Primor, former Ambassador of Israel in Germany
During his visit in 1984, Kohl made the following Statement in the Israeli Parliament: «I am speaking to you as someone who could not get into the Nazi-time in debt because he has had the grace of the late birth and the happiness of a special parents’ house.» For this he was often criticized. How did you feel about this Statement then?
It is not good to ask exactly this question to me, because I was completely against relations with Germany. I wanted to have no connection to Germany and was considered an Extremist in Israel in respect of this issue. I have changed me totally. What was said by the Chancellor, was well-intentioned, in Israel one has understood it wrong and it is not well received. It was not only this Statement, the entire visit was very successful.
The Israeli and German press spoke of the insensitive behavior of the Registrar and of the many pitfalls into which he entered. A year later, Kale came in a much larger Putting, as he insisted, in spite of loud protests of Jewish organizations, together with the American President Reagan visit the military cemetery in Bitburg with SS graves. How much this has hurt the Israeli population?
This visit Kohl’s at the cemetery was not well received. It looked like it would not want to understand cabbage Nazi-criminal pardon — things that could be in Israel do not understand. These were the first years of Kohl’s, which were not managed in relation to Israel. The has changed. Overall, the ratio has begun hard, but it has developed quite wonderful. And it has, thanks to Kohl’s factual.
What has contributed to cabbage because an active part in the relationship to Israel?
Helmut Kohl has given to Israel is always a priority. He estimated Israel. He found that Israel was a positive country, a stroke of luck for Germany in science and research. Actually, this was true for many areas. We cooperate today, thanks to cabbage in terms of science and research — even more than with the USA.
Helmut Kohl, the Chancellor of the reunification. His appearance on the 19th. December 1989 in Dresden was a balancing act: He could not disappoint the hope of his listeners after the reunification, and at the same time, the allies snub. And it has succeeded. How trustworthy cabbage was at this time in Jerusalem?
At the time, it was not only with suspicion in Israel, but also anxious. It was thought, and the world that Germany wants to be an aggressive great power or will. Under Kohl we had developed unexpectedly good relations to Germany and now a new, ambitious Germany should be added that the Communists should participate, who were until then the greatest enemies of Israel in Europe. You asked in Israel, how the relationships will change. We have not understood at the time but, what the GDR was, and what the citizens wanted really.
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They were the Israeli Ambassador in the time of Helmut Kohl Chancellor. How have you experienced him?
Immediately after my arrival in Germany in 1993, he received me and ever since then, the door was always open. And this was not due to the fact that I am Avi Primor, but because I was Israeli Ambassador. He has had a special relationship to Israel, and he has shown me as an Ambassador. I was in 1995 together with him in Israel — and this was a very successful visit, for both sides.
What was on this trip so special?
In addition to the topics we have discussed together in order to develop the cooperation between Germany and Israel, there was hard feelings between Kohl and Yitzhak Rabin. However, due to an error, the Rabin has made, I think. But Rabin has the were.
And what had happened?
We in Israel, the Federal Republic of Germany had asked for help, because in Iran, an Israeli soldier was missing. Rabin has accused the Germans then, they have used the matter to develop relations with Iran and to benefit from it. That was really wrong. Helmut Kohl was personally offended and he first wanted to fly to Israel. Rabin understood that he has made a mistake. He asked me for advice. I have him to the heart, he should come to Bonn to talk with the cabbage. He asked me if Kohl would accept the offer, because if he would, but not sorry. I couldn’t speak for cabbage, but I thought the Chancellor at the time, so that for him, the gesture will count. And so it was. Rabin came for a dinner. This evening has sparked an unexpected friendship between Rabin and cabbage. The ice was broken — and quite unexpectedly. Unfortunately, only for a short time, because Rabin was murdered at the end of 1995.
Avi Primor was from 1993 to 1999, the Israeli Ambassador to Germany. He is the Chairman of the Israeli society for Foreign policy.
The interview was conducted by Diana Hodali.