Back in the summer of 1965, the first West German ambassador to Israel, Dr. Rolf Pauls, an ex-Wehrmacht officer, memorably kissed the hand of then-Foreign Minister Golda Meir. It was part of the early stages of official diplomatic relations for Germany and Israel — even if it was cold, informal and marred by protests.
What a difference a half-century makes.
Today, Israel and Germany have doffed their starched formality and emerged as true partners. More than just allies, the two nations can today call themselves real friends. This year they are marking 50 years of formal relations with a slew of ceremonies and official events.