I wish all Jewish people, their families and friends in Germany and around the world a blessed, happy and healthy New Year 5781!
A difficult and emotional year lies behind us. It began with the appalling attack in Halle on the holiest day of the Jewish year. Two people were murdered in cold blood, and those at prayer in the synagogue only survived thanks to the sturdy wooden door. The year ends in a phase of continuing uncertainty, with the entire world still fighting a pandemic. Unfortunately, this uncertainty has also fuelled racism and antisemitism.
I see this past year as a warning to us all: antisemitism and hate are threatening our society as a whole. We must resolutely counter them with civil courage and with all instruments of the rule of law, and we must stand up for an open, tolerant and pluralistic society. We remain committed to precisely that at the Federal Foreign Office, too: as chair of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, where among other things we established a Global Task Force against Holocaust Denial and Distortion; as the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, where we seek to advance a holistic approach to combating antisemitism; and as the upcoming chair of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, where we will focus on tackling online hate.
The arrival of a new year is always a time to look to the future. I am looking forward to celebrating 1700 years of Jewish life in Germany as of next January. I find it profoundly moving that, 75 years on from the horror of the Shoah, such a large number of Jewish citizens call Germany their home. We will take the opportunity during this anniversary year, in Germany and around the world, to underline the fact that Jewish faith, Jewish traditions and Jewish symbols are part of our culture and enrich us, both now and in the future.
Allow me also to extend a heartfelt “shana tova u‘metuka” to Israel. Germany and Israel enjoy very close, diverse and unique ties. Israeli Foreign Minister Ashkenazi made that clear when he came to Germany for his first foreign visit. Germany and Israel have maintained official diplomatic relations for 55 years. We are very keen to further deepen and develop these relations on the basis of shared values.
I wish you enjoyable festivities, despite all the restrictions the COVID‑19 pandemic brings. Stay healthy! May all your good resolutions and your wishes for the new year come to fruition.
Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs