German-Israeli relations are facing new challenges today. With this situation in mind, the Bertelsmann Stiftung initiated the German-Israeli Young Leaders Exchange.
Over the past decades, Germany and Israel have developed a strong relationship. Yet, it is a relationship that the younger generation no longer accepts as a given. As the Holocaust recedes into history, the majority of Germans no longer feels that Germany has a special responsibility with regard to Israel, a view that is not shared by Israelis. In addition, many Germans see Israel primarily through the lens of current events, especially the conflict in the Middle East. Conversely, many Israelis do not fully appreciate the distinctive role of historical events in shaping Germany’s political culture.
Therefore, the Bertelsmann Stiftung has developed a program aimed at bringing together the younger generation of Germans and Israelis to work together to overcome the challenges of the present and to explore new paths into the future.
Both Germany and Israel are faced with similar issues: dealing with the effects of the global economic downturn, ensuring internal and external security against a backdrop of transnational threats, migration and integration in a globalized world, reforming welfare systems to meet the challenges of demographic change, as well as questions of political partnership and social cohesion. The Young Leaders Exchange program provides participants with unique access to the political arena and society at large, in both Germany and Israel. They will meet with a variety of decision makers in the areas of politics and public administration, the media, business, academia, culture and civil society. Furthermore, the program considers German-Israeli relations against the backdrop of their shared history, and it seeks to provide young leaders with enhanced knowledge about the specifics of the other country. Through this, participants should be able to rely on their advanced understanding of German-Israeli relations as well as on newly established personal contacts as future decision makers.