Histadrut and DGB celebrate 60 years of solidarity between Israeli and German trade unions

Mar 16, 2023

This week the secretariat of the DGB youth convened for the first time outside Germany. In a symbolic notion the meeting took place in Tel Aviv, at the Histadrut headquarters. Led by DGB youth leader Kristof Becker and with the participation of all German union affiliates, the committee met to discuss the challenges of today.

The DGB Youth made a joint declaration “to stand in solidarity with colleagues in Histadrut when it is necessary to protect this democratic state, ruled by law, against its enemies”.

Sixty years ago, the Histadrut and the DGB made a bold decision to undertake a challenge that many would find difficult – to build a relationship between the Israeli and German people. This relationship was not just about warm and kind words, it was about taking actions for one another, to remember the past and work together towards a better future. Today, we celebrate the 60th anniversary of this historic relationship.

Over the past six decades, thousands of Israelis and German trade unionists have participated in an exchange program that has brought them together in places like Yad Vashem and Dachau, and even in remote workplaces in Germany and Jerusalem. Through these exchanges, they have remembered, learned, and fought for a better world free from anti-Semitism, racism, and fascism.

“Trade Unions against anti-semitism”

Solidarity is at the heart of this relationship, and it is clear that both the Histadrut and the DGB have taken this responsibility seriously. For them, “Never again” is not just a powerful statement, it is a constructive and committed program. They have demonstrated that even in the face of unspeakable horrors and tragedy, it is possible to build a relationship based on mutual respect and cooperation.

German Ambassador to Israel Steffan Seibert participated in a special ceremony to mark 60 years of relations between the Histadrut and DGB and said: “In German-Israeli ties, before the diplomats, there were the trade unionists. The next generation of this partnership is for good jobs and social justice.”

Histadrut Director General Dudu Bezalel: “This is a real model of solidarity between workers’ organizations. We appreciate your important work, among other things, against anti-Semitism”.

Geshon Gelman, Chairman of Histadrut Tel-Aviv District and International Relations Division: “I recall the extensive activities of the unions the first delegation to Israel came from North Rhine-Westphalia, and since we’ve developed extensive relations over the years.”

Gary Kaplan, Director of Delegations in the Histadrut: “As we mark this milestone, we must remember the ashes of the past and be responsible for the present, committed to building a better future. The Histadrut and the DGB have shown us that it is possible to undertake this bond constructively and respectfully despite the challenges. We celebrate together our 60th anniversary and look forward to the continued success of this important and brave relationship.”

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