Tel Aviv Comes To Ber­lin

Any­one who vis­its Tel Aviv will agree that it has much in com­mon with Ber­lin, from the Bauhaus build­ings to the trendy, in­ter­na­tional flair. Solveig Stein­hardt ex­plores this city’s Is­raeli side.


Mazel tov! This year marks the 50th an­niver­sary of Ger­man-Is­raeli re­la­tions.

When con­fronted in 1948 with the ques­tion of whether to es­tab­lish diplo­matic re­la­tions with Ger­many, the newly founded State of Is­rael ini­tially de­clined be­cause of the Nazi regime's geno­cide of six mil­lion Jews. As Ger­many ac­knowl­edged its re­spon­si­bil­i­ties, how­ever, re­la­tions be­gan to thaw, and in 1965, diplo­matic re­la­tions were fi­nally es­tab­lished. A lot has hap­pened since, and with Ber­lin now home to some 20,000 Is­raelis, the two coun­tries have never been closer. This year marks the 50th an­niver­sary of Ger­man-Is­raeli re­la­tions, and to cel­e­brate, the city is pre­sent­ing a num­ber of events, start­ing with last month’s I Love Is­rael bazaar and con­tin­u­ing the rest of the year.

May's big­gest event is an ex­hi­bi­tion of 70 works on loan to Martin-Gropius-Bau from the Tel Aviv Mu­seum of Mod­ern Art, founded in 1932 by then-mayor Meir Dizen­goff to­gether with Ber­lin-born art his­to­rian Karl Sch­warz. Sch­warz spent years vis­it­ing artists and pa­trons to com­pile the new col­lec­tion, and thanks to dona­tions from pain­ters, sculp­tors, and bene­fac­tors, the mu­seum’s cat­a­logue now in­cludes ex­am­ples of all the artis­tic move­ments of the 20th cen­tury, fea­tur­ing mas­ter­pieces by Wass­ily Kandin­sky, Marc Cha­gall, Al­berto Gi­a­cometti, Mark Rothko, Egon Schiele, and Pablo Pi­casso, as well as works by Is­raeli artists. In or­der to cre­ate a dia­logue be­tween clas­si­cal moder­nity and con­tem­po­rary Is­raeli art, the ex­hi­bi­tion will jux­ta­pose 19th-cen­tury works with the lat­est artis­tic ten­den­cies in video and in­stal­la­tion art, ex­plor­ing the opuses of some of Is­rael’s most im­por­tant and en­gaged artists, such as Guy Ben-Ner, Nira Pereg, and Yael Bar­tana, who ex­press strong po­si­tions on pol­i­tics, so­cial mat­ters, and the en­vi­ron­ment. For a more melo­di­ous cel­e­bra­tion, on 22 May pi­anist Heidrun Holt­mann will present a num­ber of pieces by Ger­man and Is­raeli com­posers at the Kam­mer­musik­saal of the

Phil­har­monie, in­clud­ing a piece by Martin Christoph Redel writ­ten es­pe­cially for the an­niver­sary.

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