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Football, fighter jets and rockets

– German-Israeli friendship grows

Diplomatic events of political, social or even religious nature often receive scant attention and are promptly forgotten. I want to share with you three that particularly impressed me by their significance.

Sports friendship

In June 2017, I was invited by ELNET (European Leadership Network) to watch a friendly soccer match in Jerusalem. I’m no longer an active football fan, but this was between a team from the German Bundestag (Parliament) and one from the Israeli Knesset, held near the Israeli parliament building in Jerusalem. Members of Parliament of the highest rank participated.

The Israeli and German national anthems were played at the beginning. We all stood at attention respectfully. We understood how sport can unite peoples. I was so personally moved that tears came to my eyes. Germans, Jews, Jerusalem, Berlin–the thoughts cascaded. I spoke to some of the German MP’s in true friendship.

Germany won the game 1:0. As the Israeli host said goodbye over coffee, he said jokingly, “Next time, we’ll make it easier for you to win.”

Joint military exercise

On October 17, 2021, German Luftwaffe fighter jets flew side by side with an Israeli squadron, passing over the Knesset in Jerusalem, capital of the Jewish state. The Israeli unit was led by Major General Amikam Norkin, the German unit by Lieutenant General Ingo Gerhartz. The German officers were given Israeli medals.

For me as an eyewitness and victim of the German Nazi era (1933-1945), this was unimaginable. I thought of those who once wanted a “final solution to the Jewish question” and sought to celebrate a “final victory.” They must now be turning in their graves. Bible believers, however, both Jews and Christians, experience that the Bible is true and Israel is invincible.

The formation-flying exercises, lasting two weeks, were joined by six other countries, namely France, Greece, India, Italy, UK and USA. It was intended as a strong show of international cooperation and unity and a warning to Iran.

Israel supports German defense

Defensive weapons from Israel being sold to Germany: The $3.5 billion contract between Berlin and Jerusalem, the highest ever, was signed on September 28, 2023, by Germany’s Defense Minister Boris Pistorius and Israel’s Defense Minister Yoav Gallant. The contract is for delivery of Israel’s vaunted Arrow 3 anti-missile system and extends to 2030.

Germany, like all Europe, is vulnerable to missile attacks. Numerous German officials expressed their gratitude that, 80 years after the Holocaust, Israel is helping bolster Germany defenses. “We belong together today” (The Jerusalem Post, September 29, 2023).

I want to reiterate that Israel is supplying defensive, not offensive, weapons. It is the same Israeli practice in Ukraine. Israel is known as the first nation to provide aid in times of disaster. In Africa, locals have shown me fields of vegetables that Israel made possible. Israel has provided and trained developing countries in water reclamation and irrigation.

I want to give all glory to God for His spiritual blessing upon Israel for all the world. I thank the Most High for His faithfulness to His everlasting covenant. It says in His eternal Word: “You are My servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified….I will also make you a light to the gentiles, that you may be My salvation unto the ends of the earth” (Isai. 49:3, 6).

Israeli Air Force Major General Amikam Norkin in F-15D Baz 957 and German Luftwaffe Lieutenant General Ingo Gerhartz in Eagle Star Eurofighter Typhoon flying in formation over Jerusalem (Luftwaffe)