Israel’s ambassador to Berlin described deterioration in German sympathy for the Jewish state.
Shimon Stein, who is wrapping up a turbulent seven-year tenure as Israel’s ambassador to Germany, gave the Hebrew daily Yediot Acharonot a broad-ranging interview over the weekend in which he professed pessimism about the public mood in the key European state.
“In the past few years, the question of the State of Israel’s legitimacy has arisen,” Stein said, attributing the change both to the moral attrition caused by the Palestinian conflict and a reluctance by younger German generations to see the Holocaust as necessitating the creation of the Jewish state.
Stein further noted that, in Germany as elsewhere in Europe, there is widespread ignorance about Israel as Western-style democracy. He also bemoaned the spread of neo-Nazism in the country that spawned the Holocaust.
“Relations between Israel and Germany are not automatic, self-evident relations,” he said. “We cannot continue to build up the relations solely on the basis of the past. If we do not succeed in locating joint topics in the future, the relations will lose their uniqueness and importance.”