Wrangling diplomacy
in Israelpolitik
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The Federal Republic of Germany and the State of Israel eventually established official diplomatic relations in 1965. This chapter challenges the familiar definition of 1965 as a moment of unprecedented harmony in West German–Israeli relations (when ‘two dancers finally begin dancing to the same tune’, to use one image employed in the existing historiography). In fact, there were such low expectations about the future of the newly established diplomatic mission in Israel that the initial location where the West German delegation set up its office was the Sheraton Hotel in Tel Aviv – so as to be ready to pack up and leave at any moment. Yet the embassy remained in place and its employees witnessed one of the most significant developments in the history of the modern Middle East: The Six-Day War. As previously neglected primary sources from the East German intelligence services (Stasi) and the Soviet Foreign Ministry show, the war further complicated the debate both on the role of the two Germanys in the Middle East, and in the international arena more broadly. Two years later, in 1969, the GDR and five Arab countries – Egypt, Iraq, Sudan, Syria and South Yemen – established diplomatic relations.

Israelpolitik

German–Israeli relations, 1949–69

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