A special normalcy

By Haaretz Editorial

Tags: world war two, germany

Ever since World War II, Germany’s leaders have sought to make their country “normal.” Its participation in ceremonies marking the 60th anniversary of “that war,” and the festivities that Germany, along with her former enemies, held in honor of the liberation from the Nazi yoke, gave “normalcy” a meaning it had never had before. Some would draw a straight line between those events and German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s current visit to Israel. Her visit did not generate front-page headlines here; in the public discourse, Germany has become an almost “normal” partner of the Jewish state.

How can this be explained? In the first place, Merkel’s visit was not the first visit to Israel by a German chancellor. Omitting Konrad Adenauer – who was no longer chancellor when he visited here in 1966 – still leaves us with visits by Willy Brandt, Helmut Kohl (twice) and Gerhard Schroeder. Presidents Richard von Weizsacker, Roman Herzog, Johannes Rau and Horst Koehler also visited Israel, and the latter two also addressed the Knesset, in German