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Perception of Germany in Israel (UPDATED)

Many American (and German) blogs are always very critical of (alleged) German policies and media reports related to Israel, Hezbollah, and Iran. So let's have a look of what a leading Israeli newspaper and Israel's Prime Minister recently opined and many US newspapers and "pro-Israeli blogs" ignored. The Jerusalem Post wrote on August 22, 2006 (As always, emphasis in bold was added):
In the face of Iran's race to obtain nuclear power, Israel signed a contract with Germany last month to buy two Dolphin-class submarines that will, according to foreign reports, provide superior second-strike nuclear capabilities, The Jerusalem Post has learned. (...) The contract signing was said to have come after a long dispute over the price and financing of the submarines. According to the details obtained by the Post, Israel will purchase the two Dolphins, manufactured by Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft AG, for $1.27 billion, a third of which will be financed by the German government.
And on August 24, the Jerusalem Post wrote that these submarines are an indication of "Germany's Transformation":
Israelis will be able to sleep better once these impressive machines are slicing silently through the dangerous waters far from our shores. Added to the three other [German] submarines of their class already in service with the navy, the newcomers will greatly enhance the long-range capabilities of our increasingly formidable sea defenses. The first three vessels - the INS Dolphin, INS Leviatan and INS Tekuma, ushered into Haifa Bay in 1999 and 2000 - are significantly larger than Israel's 30-year-old Gal-class submarines, significantly more advanced and significantly better armed. These new additions, scheduled to arrive within two years, are even more so. (...)
That Germany is steadfastly opposing an Iranian nuclear weapons program, while at the same time building advanced submarines for Israel, is profoundly important - for the future, and because of the past. (…)
The stance of the German government underlines a radical transformation for that country's people. While their grandparents' generation perpetrated the Holocaust, and the previous generation paid for the Holocaust with reparations to its victims, the current generation is helping prevent a second Holocaust by providing the IDF with some of the most important defensive weapons systems in its arsenal. As far as corrective steps go, that's a huge one.
Israeli Prime Minister Olmert has asked Germany to send troops to South Lebanon, as Haaretz wrote on August 5, 2006:
"I have informed [German] Chancellor Angela Merkel that we have absolutely no problem having German troops in South Lebanon," Olmert told the daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung.  "There is no other nation that Israel considers more of a friend that Germany... I would be very happy if Germany participated," he said. The German government has not ruled out sending troops to the Middle East but many citizens are uneasy about sending soldiers to the region. Those in Germany opposed to the deployment of German troops along the Israeli border say they fear it would hurt the feelings of Holocaust survivors and that the troops would find it difficult to be impartially and operate against Israel if necessary.  But Olmert said he does not consider this to be problematic. "Why would German troops need to fire at Israelis for? They would be part of a force operating to defend Israel. There is no nation acting in a friendlier manner towards Israel than Germany," he said. The prime minister said Israel has asked of the U.S. many times to deploy its troops as part of the international peacekeeping force, but "we cannot force the U.S." he said.
UPDATE: The Washington Post wrote about the submarine deal (HT: Hammer).
The Dolphin submarine could be one of the best deterrents, Beaver [an independent defense analyst who used to work for Jane's Defense Weekly] said. The technology on the subs makes them undetectable and gives them defensive capabilities in the case of attack, he said. "They are very well-built, very well-prepared, lots of interesting equipment, one of the best conventional submarines available," Beaver said. "We are talking about a third string of deterrence capabilities."
Michael Karpin, an expert on Israel's atomic weapons capabilities who published a book on the issue in the United States, said nuclear-armed submarines provide better second-strike capabilities than missiles launched from airplanes. "Planes are vulnerable, unlike nuclear (armed) submarines that can operate for an almost unlimited amount of time without being struck," Karpin said. "Second-strike capabilities are a crucial element in any nuclear conflict."
In Germany, members of two opposition parties criticized the deal. Winfried Nachtwei, national security spokesman for the Greens, said the decision was wrong because Germany had obtained no guarantee the submarines would not be used to carry nuclear weapons.
Also see this comment concerning the sale and arms control guidelines.

Olaf Petersen
, a
nother commentator with some relevant background considers teh submarines useful for reconaissance, electronic warfare, conducting frogman missions, and special operations rather than nuclear deterrence.

The Jerusalem Post now writes:
Two new submarines which Israel would receive under a deal it signed with Germany last month, will only start being delivered in 2010, German government spokesman Thomas Steg said Friday. Steg added that the submarines would not be equipped to fire nuclear weapons. A German defense official said, however, that it was possible that Israel would make structural changes to the vessels upon delivery and would widen the missile launchers aboard, allowing for the installation of cruise missiles. According to foreign reports, Israel has cruise missiles that are capable of carrying nuclear warheads. (...) "The submarines will not... be built and equipped for the firing of nuclear weapons, but are designed for the conduct of conventional war," said Steg. Asked if Germany wanted assurances from Israel on that point, he said: "We have no mistrust and no suspicion toward our Israeli partner."


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Possum on :

How is the German government financing its third? Does the government own a third of the company and is foregoing payment of that third? Or is it contributing cash? In any case, Merkel is a big (and welcome) difference from the unwholesome Schroeder. How long will it last though? The next chancellor could come soon and be another socialist who scores political points by taking pot shots at evil capitalist America. Some stability, without such opportunistic radical swings is needed to recover trust. Another thing I was glad to see is the German TV station that proved the Israelis had used no chemical weapons in Lebanon. A very well done program. You could tell they were filming the story as it happened, because the microscopes weren't a mile out of focus (as when a scene is staged). Odd, isn't it, that the first European people to balk at the Left's love affair with Islamofascists would be the Germans -- that the Germans would be the ones to pull back after Iran's "wipe Israel off the map" talk and its mockingly transparant effort to acquire nuclear weapons. But on second thought, that isn't odd. It's exactly what you'd expect, because it would be hardest for the Germans to be stubbornly obtuse. You'd expect them to be the first to own a responsibilty in the matter of Israel's survival. By the way, don't forget the nearly 250 American peacekeepers in Lebanon that Hezbollah blew up in 1983. You know, those American "occupiers." So Lebanon doesn't get any more peacekeepers from us. Who would want American peacekeepers anyway? We'd hear no end of worldwide screaming about that. Besides we're busy at the moment. It's Europe's turn to step up and take responsibility. Morever, it would honestly be inappropriate for Americans to serve as peacekeepers, because we ARE allies of Israel. More neutral forces are called for. American troops won't go there unless it's necessary to save Israel from being "driven into the sea." Period. End of discussion. You insinuate that the United States SHOULD send troops and that the United States is being stingy with the services of its armed forces. I find that amazing! I also wonder what Germany would say if it were the United States selling a similar weapon to Israel. Would it still be considered a good deed?

TheHammer on :

@ Possum, you "possierliches Tierchen" You write: "Who would want American peacekeepers anyway? We'd hear no end of worldwide screaming about that." "You insinuate that the United States SHOULD send troops and that the United States is being stingy with the services of its armed forces. I find that amazing!" You're right, the US is bogged down in Iraq and has not the required impartiality to provide peacekeeping troops. On the other hand a commitment from the US would show that it is serious about the Middle East. So far Washington has been conspicuously silent. The "birth pangs" turned out to be "death knells" and it was the provision of EU peacekeepers which made the ceasefire between Hezbollah and Israel possible. My prediction: the US, because it is one-sidedly identified with Israeli interests by Mid East countries, will loose influence in the region and come to rely on Europe as the real arbiter of peace. You can already see the "birth pangs" of this development...

JW-Atlantic Review on :

@ Possum Kathy Howaldtswerke Deutsche Werft AG is not a government owned company, but a stock corporation. Global Security writes: "Chicago-based investment company, One Equity Partners, moved in March 2002 to take a 75% stake in Germany's Howaldswerke Deutsche Werft (HDW)" Thus, even Americans benefit from this sale and from the German government paying a third of the costs. However, the company's website says they are part of Werftverbundes ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) since January 2005. Does that mean they were bought by another mainly German company ? Olaf...?

JW-Atlantic Review on :

@ Possum Kathy Contrary to your claims, I don't "insinuate that the United States SHOULD send troops and that the United States is being stingy with the services of its armed forces." As always you are reading far too much into it. I just quoted Haaretz: [i]The prime minister said Israel has asked of the U.S. many times to deploy its troops as part of the international peacekeeping force, but "we cannot force the U.S." he said.[/i] If you don't like what he says, please send him an email rather than put words in my mouth and complain here.

Possum on :

Well then why did you select that line to quote? The implication is clear.

Olaf Petersen on :

One Equitiy has a stake of 25% in TKMS, maybe due to their 75% stake in HDW. Torpedoed in Germany? How an American financier's U-boat play has gone awry [url][/url]

Bill on :

Although the German public and some political parties here (Die Linke/PDS, Die Grünen, Guido W. & die FDP) are very nervous about deploying German peacekeeping troops to Lebanon, I do continuously here from some political leaders that "Es geht an die Existenz Israels!". Rough translation for readers who need it "It's about the survival (existence) of Israel!". That is a profound statement and political stand taken by certain political leaders in Berlin and Bayern. Sorry about any grammatical errors I may have made... This just in (Breaking News): Joschka Fischer, former German Foreign Minister under the Rot/Grün coalition government of Gerhard Schröder, has a blog! O.K., it's not exactly HIS blog but you can leave comments to articles that he has written for the U.K. Guardian's new group blog project named "Comment is Free". Joschka is addressing this very subject (Lebanon, the Middle East & the EU) in his post of September 1st titled "The Neighbourly Thing to Do". I thought that the Atlantic Review team and readers might enjoy reading it. Here is the URL:

Bill on :

This also just in (more breaking news)... German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been voted #1 in The World's Most Powerful Women 2006 annual feature. Hallelujah! The German-American transatlantic relationship has been saved. Wait a minute... scratch that last part. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who finished at the #2 spot in this year's competition, has raised a protest with Forbes claiming blatant discrimination in the voting process. Just kidding. Have a nice weekend Jörg. Have a nice Labor Day holiday weekend America. Lighten up on that bratwurst and beer consumption this weekend, you hear?

Olaf Petersen on :

Personally and in the light of Israel's military doctrine I refuse to consider the new German Type 212/214 submarines as Israel's "superior second-strike nuclear capabilities". (I admit I have no idea at all whether or how that submarine could launch rockets, all I've learned is they are armed with torpedoes.) Type 212/214 is a non nuclear stealth submarine, absolutely silent, equipped with state-of-the art electronic warfare gizmos: The perfect vessel for special operations and commando assaults. And that's probably the most important reason why we'll never really know how thankful the Israelis really are to us Germans. As if we deserved it, at least Israel paid for the submarines --- didn't they? ;)

Submarine on :

I would like to add two comments: - Regarding the delivery of the submarines, this deal was brought about by Schröder, not by Merkel. Public outrage arose back then during the last days of his tenure because the German taxpayer had to pay for this "present", and the German ministry of defense actually did not have enough funds to buy some submarines of their own. - The delivery of the two submarines clearly violates the "Kriegswaffen-Kontrollgesetz", as it means delivering weapons into a war zone. An ihrem letzten Tag im Amt unterzeichnete die rot-grüne Bundesregierung 2005 einen Vertrag mit Israel, der die Lieferung von zwei weiteren "Dolphin"-U-Booten" vorsieht. Ein Drittel der Kosten von bis zu einer Milliarde Euro trägt der deutsche Steuerzahler direkt; ein Drittel trägt er indirekt, wenn die Bundeswehr - wie geplant - Rüstungsgüter in Israel einkauft. Das letzte Drittel zahlt Israel. Der Industrievertrag wurde am 6. Juli in Berlin unterzeichnet. Die U-Boote sollen das aktuelle Prunkstück deutscher Marinetechnik enthalten. Den außenluftunabhängigen Brennstoffzellenantrieb, mit dem die U-Boote viel länger tauchen und weiter fahren können als alle konventionellen U-Boote. Das kommt Israel entgegen. Die Schiffe eignen sich, um in der Arabischen See und im Indischen Ozean zu patrouillieren. Dort wähnt Israel die wichtigsten Gegner der Zukunft. Die islamische Atommacht Pakistan und den Iran mit seinem Atomprogramm.

Olaf Petersen on :

Reply to submarine: Of course these submarines could patrol the Arab sea and beyond, but: Israel's base for submarines is in Haifa - Eilat is only home of a little fleet of patrol boats. So unless Egypt allows these submarines to use the Suez Canal these ships had to sail around Africa to operate in the Arab Sea or to return from there for maintainance. Anyway, I think all the talk about 'nuclear capabilities' is misleading. The central message of Israel's military doctrine is that Israel can't risk any military defeat because it would directly mean its extinction. In this light it would be hard to understand why Israel should be interested to invest in 'second-strike-capabilities' - such capabilities are exactly the accepted risks as seen by Israel's arch enemies. The Arabic/Islamic/you-name-it world could destroy Israel with only one nuclear bomb, but 200 Israeli nuclear bombs couldn't destroy the Arabic world. Conclusion: Israel won't allow its enemies a first strike at all and, if necessary, will use its airforce to ensure this. It's quite obvious these submarines won't operate out of range of their bases and they will do what they are designed for: Reconaissance, Electronic Warfare, conducting frogman missions, special operations etc at the Mediterranian coasts (of Syria for example).

The Hammer on :

Adding to the sub and nuclear strike issue, this is from an August 25 WaPo article: "The new submarines, built at a cost of $1.3 billion with Germany footing one-third of the bill, have diesel-electric propulsion systems that allow them to remain submerged for longer periods of time than the three nuclear arms-capable submarines already in Israel's fleet, the Jerusalem Post reported. The latest submarines not only would be able to carry out a first strike should Israel choose to do so, but they also would provide Israel with crucial second-strike capabilities, said Paul Beaver, a London-based independent defense analyst. Israel is already believed to have that ability in the form of the Jericho-1 and Jericho-2 nuclear-capable ballistic missiles, which are buried so far underground they would survive a nuclear strike, he said." So, are these subs capable of nuking Iran or not? Does Germany really build subs able to launch nukes as a non-nuclear weapon state?

JW-Atlantic Review on :

@ Hammer Thanks for the Wash Post link. I have missed that one.

Olaf Petersen on :

@ The Hammer: Hey, what did that 'independent defense analyst Paul Beaver' really say? Nothing. It's a brand new state-of-the-art submarine. Amazing! It could be used for first- and second strikes. What about a third? And Israel's nuclear ballistic missiles would survive an enemy nuclear strike. What a surprise, really... But did you hear or read anything that Type 212/214 is armed with a rocket launcher? I didn't. Could it fire something like a cruise missile through its torpedoe tubes? There are many mysteries of the deep =D I think these nuclear aspects are just a side show to make the story hotter.

JW-Atlantic Review on :

@ Olaf I understand your skepticism concerning "independent defense analysts." However, Paul Beaver used to be an editor for the very respected Jane's Defense Weekly. I googled several articles mentioning him as a working for Jane's.

ADMIN on :

This post has just been updated with further information.

Olaf Petersen on :

JW, Beaver's reputation could easily underscore my side show theory. lol

JW-Atlantic Review on :

Some Israelis apparently don't appreciate certain US "support." Check this out, written by Daniel Levy, a member of the official Israeli negotiating team at the Oslo and Taba talks and the lead Israeli drafter of the Geneva Initiative: Ending the neoconservative nightmare - Haaretz - The U.S. press and blogosphere is awash with neocon-inspired calls for indefinite shooting, no talking and extension of hostilities to Syria and Iran, with Gingrich calling this a third world war to "defend civilization." Disentangling Israeli interests from the rubble of neocon "creative destruction" in the Middle East has become an urgent challenge for Israeli policy-makers. An America that seeks to reshape the region through an unsophisticated mixture of bombs and ballots, devoid of local contextual understanding, alliance-building or redressing of grievances, ultimately undermines both itself and Israel. (...) Israel does have enemies, interests and security imperatives, but there is no logic in the country volunteering itself for the frontline of an ideologically misguided and avoidable war of civilizations. So what should be done, on both sides of the ocean? It is admittedly difficult for Israel to have a regional strategy that is out-of-step with the U.S. administration-of-the-day. However, the neocon approach is not unchallenged, and Israel should not be providing its ticket back to the ascendancy." [url][/url]

Judeophile on :

Why should it surprise you if a far-left Israeli hates the American right as much as he hates the Israeli right?

JW-Atlantic Review on :

Where do you see hatred in his article? Why do you consider him far-left? (He was a member of the Israeli government...)

Don on :

Hatred? Not neccesarily. Frustration perhaps. It's a pretty safe bet that this fellow is or was Labor Party; and that means left in Israel. He may be backing the new PM. The governing Israeli coalition is hanging by a thread right now. The head of the Labor party was forced to call for an independent inquiry into the government's prosecution of the war. Both he and Ohlmert are vulnerable, and if Labor changes it's leader they may pull out the the coalition. This also may explain the huge publicity given to the German submarines by the Isreali government; it gives them something to talk about other than the war. Right now they want to bury the war 7 miles deep because if it stays the #1 issue in Israel they are sunk. It also may explain that rather impassioned op-ed, seeking to pile the blame Bush rather than where it belongs; the current political and military leadership of Israel. I don't believe it will work for them the way it worked in Europe in 2002-2003. The Israeli people are closer to the threat and therefore more clearsighted than most Europeans are. They have to be. I'm sure they are grateful to Germany, as they should be. But they also know a (kosher) red herring when they see one.

Olaf Petersen on :

Uuuhhh, I just can't wait for the next isolationist wail over "those ungrateful jews after all that America has done for them".

JW-Atlantic Review on :

[url=]Germany accepting 'burden of history' | Jerusalem Post [/url][quote="Jerusalem Post"]"Germany is offering to patrol Lebanon's coast rather than send ground troops. Yet Israel asked Germany to provide fighting troops, and Germany refused. Isn't that a historical paradox, Stein was asked. "In a way, it is," he responded. "Prime Minister Olmert recognizes that this is a different Germany, which has proven, more than many other countries, that it has internalized the lessons of the Holocaust. But the Germans are unwilling to put themselves in a position where German armed soldiers might have to face, or even shoot, an Israeli soldier. They are accepting the burden of their history, even if we, at least in this instance, are willing to overlook it." Stein noted that the final size of the force had not been determined and that, since Lebanon had not yet asked Germany to participate in the force, the decision had not been finalized. Furthermore, since the German army is a national army, any decision regarding deployment of troops must be approved by the Bundestag. He revealed that Germany had also offered to aid the Lebanese government in guarding airports and to train customs officials along the Syrian-Lebanese border, as well as the warships backed by surveillance aircraft to prevent weapons being smuggled to Hizbullah gunmen after their war with Israel. (...) It has been over a decade since Germany's post-war constitution was changed to allow the use of armed force in international disputes. In that time they have taken part in peacekeeping operations in the Balkans, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Sudan and DR Congo. But Stein made a distinction: These past assignments have been primarily "peace-keeping" missions. The mission in Lebanon would be a "peace-enforcing" mission. For the first time, German troops would be taking part in a mission with a high probability of casualties. (...) [b]Unlike the United States, Germany, like all of Europe, except for the British in Iraq, is in a post-heroic period. [/b]They are not willing to see their soldiers killed in any effort that is not directly related to their own defense. Europeans do not see themselves, and do not want to see themselves, as responsible for making the world safe for democracy. Furthermore, in Germany and especially in the east, there is a significant pacifist component.[/quote]

Danny on :

As for the Israeli love of Germany, I regret to say it is clearly associated with Galut mentality: a Diaspora Jew really love those who stop beating him for a while. Regrettably, that's a common and well-known feature. On a similar note, leftist Israelis are in love with the Palestinians. No one loves France just because it didn't kill Jews for some centuries.

Anonymous on :

Peter Beaumont in London and Conal Urquhart in Jerusalem Sunday October 12, 2003 The Observer "Israeli and American officials have admitted collaborating to deploy US-supplied Harpoon cruise missiles armed with nuclear warheads in Israel's fleet of Dolphin-class submarines, giving the Middle East's only nuclear power the ability to strike at any of its Arab neighbours. The unprecedented disclosure came as Israel announced that states 'harbouring terrorists' are legitimate targets, responding to Syria's declaration of its right to self-defence should Israel bomb its territory again. According to Israeli and Bush administration officials interviewed by the Los Angeles Times, the sea-launch capability gives Israel the ability to target Iran more easily should the Iranians develop their own nuclear weapons. Although it has been long suspected that Israel bought three German diesel-electric submarines with the specific aim of arming them with nuclear cruise missiles, the admission that the two countries had collaborated in arming the fleet with a nuclear-capable weapons system is significant at a time of growing crisis between Israel and its neighbours." [url],6903,1061381,00.html[/url]

joe on :

That is a great source. I believe a year or so ago, at this time OPEC was suppose to be trading oil in euro's. Why does my newspaper still report prices in dollars. Have I missed something. Of course, Anno being the person he is, wants to believe this and has found a source to support his beliefs. Bully for you.

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