7th Germany-Israel Strategic Forum: Discussion Papers

On December 11, ELNET and the Forum of Strategic Dialogue (FSD) hold the annual 7th Germany-Israel Strategic Forum in partnership with the Federal Academy for Security Policy (BAKS), and the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS).

The Strategic Forum is a platform to deal with the important relationship between Germany and Israel, which is becoming more complex. The discussions cover key policy issues such as the U.S.-China competition, Iran, threats in cyberspace, as well as German-Israeli relations and areas of cooperation.

The discussion papers, prepared by the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) and the Forum of Strategic Dialogue (FSD) offer a starting point for the forum, presenting German and Israeli perspectives on these key topics.

How Europe and Israel can navigate in the U.S.-China competition?

With rising tensions between Washington and Peking, particularly playing out in the South and East China Sea and in international trade by imposing tariffs and quotas on imports, Germany and the EU have to find a way to navigate in the US-China rivalry. Israel is also affected by the big-power competition. The challenge is all the more felt against the background of a reduced U.S. geo-political footprint in the Middle East.

How to deal with Iran against the background of a U.S.-Iran showdown?

Concerning Iran, Germany and Israel share the same policy objective: preventing an Iranian nuclear bomb and putting an end to Iranian destabilizing behaviour in the Middle East. While the German and Israeli policy approaches to reach that goal currently differ, from a German perspective, they should move toward cooperation along the lines of a common “confront & engage” strategy. Unlike Germany (whose commitment to Israel’s security Israel highly values), Israel is directly and strategically threatened by Iran. For that reason, Israel will not risk accepting Iran even as a nuclear-threshold state, and it is determined to block the Iranian push towards building a formidable military front facing Israel at its borders.

Threats in the cyber space

Germany and Israel have already established deep economic and defense ties for many years. A logical continuation would be stronger cooperation between these two countries in the fields of cyber, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and computing advancements. While Germany continues its restrained foreign policy with its trade and business approach, Israel views cyber space first and foremost from the perspective of national security given Israel’s unique security situation and threats to its security.