Coexistence at the Naturally for Israel Conference in Cologne.
(photo credit: KKL-JNF)
Jews, Moslems, Christians and Druze living peacefully, side by side – this is what daily life is about in Israel’s Galilee region, and it came as a surprise to many of the participants at the second Naturally for Israel Conference that took place at the Flora building in Cologne on September 11, 2016.
Unfortunately, people’s knowledge about Israel is mainly from news broadcasts, and the conference exposed participants to Israel’s multifaceted reality. The Cologne conference was an opportunity for Germans and Israelis to learn from each other about peaceful coexistence
and how to integrate people from different religious or cultural backgrounds. In addition to lectures, a panel discussion and discussion rounds, the conference offered a colorful program including music, Israeli food, dances, and a large raffle, all of which were enthusiastically received by the audience.
The highlight of the conference was the awarding of the KKL-JNF Golden Olive Branch prize to Kai Diekmann, the publisher of the BILD newspaper in Germany The Israeli ambassador to Germany, His Excellency Yaakov Hadas-Handelsman, said that for many years, “Kai Diekmann has been committed to German-Israeli friendship. We wish to thank him from all our hearts, and we are happy that KKL-JNF chose to award him with the Golden Olive Branch this year.”
In his acceptance speech, Kai Diekmann emphasized the special responsibility that the legendary publisher Axel Springeras conveyed to the editors of the publishing house - the unconditional support of Israel’s right to exist. Mr. Diekmann expressed his gratitude for being awarded the honorary prize, saying that “the close and trusting relationship
that exists today between Israel and Germany is nothing less than a miracle. It is for me both a joy and a great honor to contribute my small share to helping sustain and maintain this deep connection.”
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