BONN (Aug. 24)
The blue-white flag of Israel was raised on German soil today for the first time as Asher Ben-Nathan presented his formal letters of credence as Israel’s first Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany. Mr. Ben-Nathan was formerly director-general of Israel’s Defense Ministry.
The presentation was made to acting West German President Georg Zinn in a brief and simple ceremony set by West German protocol. Israel’s flag was raised over the temporary Israel Embassy in Cologne. Representatives of German Jewry attended that ceremony. Mr. Ben-Nathan commented that, “this is to recall that the present does not erase the past.” Later, he placed a wreath at the monument in Cologne for the 6,000,000 Jewish victims of the Nazi holocaust.
Rabbi A. Churachevsky received the envoy at the Cologne synagogue, which was destroyed in 1938 during the Nazi “Crystal Night,” and rebuilt seven years ago. The rabbi recited Kaddish before the wreath was placed on the monument. There were no speeches during the Cologne rites.
BEN-NATHAN, GERMAN ACTING PRESIDENT ENVISAGE NORMAL RELATIONS
The Ambassador was driven from Cologne to Villa Hammerschmidt, here, for the credentials presentation ceremony in President Heinrich Luebke’s limousine. In the cavalcade of accompanying cars were West German officials and members of the Israel Embassy staff. Ehrenfreund von Helleben, the Bonn chief of protocol, went to Cologne to accompany the Israeli envoy to Bonn for the ceremony.
Mr. Ben-Nathan made a short address in which he expressed the hope that Israel and West Germany would now enter on normal relations and a happy future for both. Dr. Zinn reciprocated the sentiments in his reply, in which he added that he hoped the future would “shine bright” for the two countries. He and the Israeli envoy then had a short conversation about Israel’s development and world affairs in general.
West German officials sought to avoid overstress on the significance of the occasion, but widespread public interest was evidenced by the presence at both ceremonies of some 40 correspondents of West German radio, television and other news media. Wide coverage was given both to the presentation ceremony and the raising of Israel’s flag in Cologne in the German press and on all broadcast services.