ELNET and the Forum of Strategic Dialogue (FSD) held their sixth annual Germany-Israel Strategic Forum with their long-standing partner, the Federal Academy for Security Policy (BAKS), a leading German think tank. The Dialogue happened just as Israel woke up to the dramatic news of the discovery of cross-border terror tunnels of Hezbollah on the Lebanese border. The discussions were fascinating and enriching, revealed a great deal of mistrust between Germany and the US, as well as disagreement between Germany and Israel on some of the major policy issues (Iran, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, etc.) due to distinctive world views.
The Strategic Dialogue is a platform to deal with the important relationship between Germany and Israel, which is becoming more complex. Germany and Israel still have incredibly intensive and close relations, which need to be fostered, especially among the youth. Both governments are currently discussing the setup of a structural youth exchange. The participants were addressed by Zohar Palti, Director of Policy and Political-Military Affairs at Israel’s Ministry of Defense; and Dr. Susanne Wasum-Rainer, Germany’s Ambassador to Israel.
The Dialogue dealt with US foreign policy and the new disrupted world order, the future of the EU and its role in the world, consequences of the US departure from the JCPOA, Iran in Syria and beyond, and the dangers of rising populism in Germany, Europe and Israel. The Dialogue was followed by a roundtable on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with three expert Israeli speakers representing different sides of the political spectrum.