In honor of 50 years of diplomatic relations between Israel and Germany, the two countries announced Sunday that they would be launching a joint project for humanitarian relief in developing countries, specifically in Africa.
According to Channel 1, the project, entitled "the Africa initiative," will see Israel pledge 24 million shekel ($6.8 million) toward humanitarian relief in developing countries from 2015-2020.
The Foreign Ministry will oversee the relief efforts via the MASHAV (Center for International Cooperation) department with a focus on critical development of the continent in all areas, incluyding agriculture, fisheries, rural development and food safety; environment, water management, irrigation and energy; public health and sanitation, community development, education and empowerment of women; and innovation and entrepreneurship.
The budget over the five years will be distributed equally between the Prime Minister's Office, Foreign Ministry, and Finance Ministry. The Foreign Ministry is working to submit a five-year plan for the initiative along with representatives of the German government.
Joint German-Israeli activities are going to be held in 2015 in both countries to celebrate the 50-year relationship between the two; a four million shekel (approximately 1.1 million dollar) budget has already been allocated for Israel's participation in the events.
The two countries only established formal relations in 1965, 17 years after the State of Israel was established. The Jewish state had previously shunned relations with Germany due to the country's Nazi past and its role in the holocaust. But in 1952 Germany agreed to pay reparations to survivors of the genocide, and relations since the formal establishment of ties have been very good, with burgeoning economic, military and diplomatic ties.
Today, Germany is Israel's second-largest trading partner, after the United States.