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Message from Heiko Maas, Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs,on the occasion of Rosh Hashanah 5779

20.08.2018 - Article


Shana Tova!
Shana Tova!© German Embassy Wellington

May all Jews, together with their families and friends in Germany and around the world, have a blessed and healthy New Year 5779 with happy and relaxing celebrations!

It is my ardent wish that you can celebrate this occasion full of hope and trust in a bright future.

I am aware, however, that many of you look back on the past year with concern weighing on your hearts. Here in Germany, we have been saddened and appalled to see how firmly anti-Semitic thinking is anchored in the minds of many and how anti-Semitic incidents can emerge seemingly without warning. This is shameful and unacceptable. Each and every one of us needs to play our part. We will not tolerate young people being ridiculed by their fellow pupils, people only daring to wear their kippa when it is concealed or the Holocaust being talked down by artists, politicians or publicists.

We stand tall to confront such things, regardless whether it is a matter of intentional provocation and a breaking of taboos or endeavours to slowly but surely shift the fundamental lines that define co-existence in our society. We need to remind ourselves time and again that today, 80 years after synagogues all across Germany were ablaze and the path to the abyss that was the Shoah was being etched out, it is certainly not to be taken for granted that Jewish life is again an integral part of German society. It is a privilege for which we are not just eternally grateful but which we also approach with humility. A privilege that brings with it responsibility: to work to ensure that Jewish people can practice their religion in freedom and safety in our country. To take a stand for human rights, for tolerance, for peace. To stand up against anti-Semitism, not just here in Germany but at all times and in all places.

It is my hope for Israel that just and viable solutions can be found for peaceful co-existence in the Middle East. This is the only way to finally create the security for which people have been yearning for such a long time. Germany will continue to work to this end.

Shana tova u‘metuka!

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