On 23 June, Minister of State Maria Böhmer opened a German-Israeli event organised by the Federal Foreign Office on the portrayal of each other’s country in school textbooks.
At the initiative of the German and Israeli Governments, the German-Israeli Textbook Commission has been examining the depiction of each other’s country in school textbooks. The current Textbook Commission was established in 2011. Under the title “Images of others. The German-Israeli Textbook Commission presents its findings and recommendations”, they presented the conclusions of their study. In her opening speech, Minister of State Böhmer said, “We have to learn to integrate the perspective of others into our perception of the world. This is particularly important with regard to relations between Germany and Israel. Our relations have been influenced to a particular degree by history and by our perception of history.”
The perception young Germans and Israelis have of each other is of key importance
Minister of State Böhmer stressed what a major task it was to keep on breathing life into this partnership. Especially with regard to the young generation, this was a challenge: as future bridge-builders, the perception which young Germans and Israelis had of each other was of key importance. For this, it was essential that the image they had of each other was up-to-date.
Minister of State Böhmer stated that schools in Germany and Israel had a special responsibility and obligation. She went on to say that teachers were key to this but that textbooks and teaching aids undoubtedly also played an important role: “The world has changed enormously during the last 30 years: the end of the cold war, globalisation and digitisation are the key phenomena that come to mind. This raises the question as to how the full spectrum of today’s reality in Israel and Germany is reflected in textbooks.”