Germany’s foreign minister opened a center for German and European studies at the University of Haifa.
Frank-Walter Steinmeier, on a four-day trip to Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Lebanon, said at Wednesday’s launching ceremony that the center is meant to support a tradition of academic exchange between Israel and Germany, and to honor Israel’s 60th anniversary.
The site also reflects a long history of German-Jewish presence in Haifa: German Jews reportedly founded a colony there in 1868.
In Israel, Steinmeier accepted an invitation from his Israeli counterpart, Tzipi Livni, to attend the Tel Aviv Opera’s performance of “Dido and Aeneas” with choreography by Sasha Waltz of Berlin.
The trip follows an official ceremony May 29 in Berlin’s Reichstag in which Steinmeier underscored Germany’s “responsibility for the past” and commitment to help promote peace in the region.
With that in mind, Berlin is to host an international conference of foreign ministers on June 24 focusing on the Palestinian Authority police force and court system.