A bitter-sweet friendship - The German-Israeli relationship in times of strategic shift
The past week has been exemplary and intense in its example of how great the potential of the German-Israeli relationship is – but it also demonstrated the power of the conflicting forces that lie just below the surface. It has never been so clearly revealed simultaneously: The positive, the common bond, as well as that which separates, drives apart and conflicts. The bilateral relationship of the two countries is facing enormous challenges at a time in which major shifts are taking place in conditions in the Middle East – accompanied by upheavals of epic proportion. The quick turnover of events in Germany is closely connected to the fact that the past week was the last week the German Parliament was in session for this legislative period. A flood of bills where on the table that "still had to be passed" before Parliament recessed. A good example is the "marriage for all" bill that set politicians from every party and persuasion under pressure to get it passed before the short summer break and the subsequent elections.
But let's take it in sequence: On Tuesday, June 27, 2017 the Iranian Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif visited Berlin. In relation to previous visits, he was received on a higher official level and with greater honor. He had meetings with the German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Finance Minister Schäuble and Foreign Minister Gabriel. What made the situation unusual as far as official protocol is concerned is the fact that the German President officially met with the Foreign Minister of another country. This is especially disturbing in light of the fact that it was the Foreign Minister of Iran, whose office had participated just the weekend before in the official "Al-Quds" day held in Iran, which called for the destruction of Israel.