The rapprochement between Germany and Israel in the aftermath of the Holocaust is one of the most striking political developments of the twentieth century. German Chancellor Angela Merkel recently referred to it as a ‘miracle’. But how did this ‘miracle’ come about? Drawing upon sources from both sides of the Iron Curtain and of the Arab–Israeli conflict, Lorena De Vita traces the contradictions and dilemmas that shaped the making of German–Israeli relations at the outset of the global Cold War. Israelpolitik offers new insights not only into the history of German–Israeli relations, but also into the Cold War competition between the two German states, as each attempted to strengthen its position in the Middle East and the international arena while struggling with the legacy of the Nazi past.
From that year onwards, West German and Israeli football teams began exchanging expertise, with Israeli coaches travelling frequently to Cologne for training purposes. 5 The links between the German Trade Union Confederation (Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund) and its Israeli counterpart, the Histradut, also grew closer. 6 But Shinnar maintained his focus on high politics for the time being, fixated on his goal of establishing diplomatic relations. The desire for a closer cooperation with the Federal Republic was something that DavidBen-Gurion seemed to be ‘possessed
.), Deutschland und Israel: Solidarität in der Bewährung: Bilanz und Perspektive der deutsch-israelischen Beziehungen (Gerlingen: Bleicher, 1992); G. Lavy, Germany and Israel: Moral Debt and National Interest (London: Frank Cass, 1996); N. Hansen , Aus dem Schatten der Katastrophe. Die deutsch-israelischen Beziehungen in der Ära Adenauer und DavidBenGurion ( Düsseldorf : Droste , 2002 ); Y. A. Jelinek , Deutschland und Israel, 1945–1965. Ein neurotisches Verhältnis ( Munich : Oldenbourg , 2004 ); D. Trimbur , De la Shoah à la Réconciliation? La Question
Convention or in the final text. Arendt's determination to write about
the Eichmann trial was triggered by the fact that the prosecution of a key
architect and administrator of the ‘final solution’ directly raised
the human meaning of genocidal antisemitism.
At one point Arendt wrote rather hyperbolically of DavidBen-Gurion, Prime Minister of Israel, that he was trying to turn the
transmitted this inheritance through the apparatuses of the state, under the leadership of the Mapai (Labour) party, which created a hierarchy between the Enlightenment and Romantic strands in accordance to their hierarchy within the hegemonic Ashkenazi habitus. At the forefront of this transmission process was Prime Minister DavidBen-Gurion, who championed Israel’s centralist ethos ( mamlakhtiyut ) to integrate immigrants rapidly into the new state, including by forced assimilation (including secularization) of Mizrahim into the national habitus. The purpose of centralism
three phases. 41 The first Israeli Prime Minister DavidBenGurion’s vision of statist Zionism was a secular, almost anti-religious vision which simultaneously borrowed, secularized and reconfigured biblical religious symbols for nationalist purposes. After the 1967 war a new form of civil religion emerged in Israel, whereupon mainstream Zionism came to draw even more heavily upon religious symbolism. 42 Ben-Gurion’s statism had failed to replace Jewish tradition with an equally ideologically potent force which could bind citizens to the state, to each other and to
with ten times its population, led to a sense of permanent siege. DavidBenGurion, Israel’s founding leader who shaped much elite thinking, expressed Israel’s perception of the Arabs: Israel, he asserted, had been inhabited by Arab invaders for 1,300 years but once the homeless, persecuted Jews had finally achieved a small notch of territory, the Arabs sought to reduce its territory, flood it with refugees, seize Jerusalem, and ghettoise it by blockade (Brecher 1972: 552; Gerner 1991: 44).
Israel responded to Arab hostility, as Brown (1988: 134
Nasser’s increasing popularity in the region, of the spectre of Soviet penetration of the Middle East, and of a possible imminent reduction in the US armed forces stationed in Europe, it was easy for the Chancellor to understand why DavidBen-Gurion would justify the Sinai campaign as a pre-emptively defensive, rather than an offensive, act. 47 This, in turn, came close to putting the FRG onto a road to covert defiance of the United States, while the relationship between Adenauer and Ben-Gurion, and the West German and Israeli security establishments, grew ever closer
’s neighbours had declared war against it just a few hours after DavidBen-Gurion, head of the Jewish Agency and first Prime Minister of Israel, announced its very foundation on 14 May 1948. The war effort left the Israeli economy in disarray. The situation was further complicated by the huge waves of mass immigration that characterised much of the first years of Israel’s existence. While in the run-up to the declaration of independence the immigrants were arriving in large numbers from Europe, either to escape Nazi persecution or after the liberation of the concentration