As many of you probably know, elections for the federal parliament are taking place in Germany at the end of September.
While most major parties seem to be keeping the Middle East out of their campaigns, there’s no doubt that the outcome of the elections will in some way affect the German – Israeli relationship. Afterall, Germany is one of Israel’s most important partners in foreign trade, second only to the USA, at more that 1.5 billion Euros in exports to Germany in 2008. Also, the special bond Germany and Israel have come to develop makes Germany one of, if not the, European state most likely to back Israel on the international political square. In addition, there’s been active academic exchange between German and Israeli researchers for quite some time, several thousand Israeli and German youths partake in school exchanges every year, and German tourists make up the largest share of European tourists to Israel (alright, they wear socks in sandals, but so do British fashionistas and top fashion models, so I suppose looking stupid does not keep one from setting a trend).
What party will be best for Israel? As little as the parties currently share on the issue, it’s tough to tell from their campaigning. I haven’t got any substantial polls at hand that would indicate who German Jews tend to cast their votes for. I know ones voting for Chancellor Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) as they make support of Israel a key concern, and religious ones also find more common ground with the conservative values the CDU stands for. However, there also are German Jews that hold to less conservative values and are more concerned with domestic rather than foreign issues, even though that might elevate them into ranks of “self-hating Jews” going by American nomenclature.
Whoever people will eventually vote for, it’s a joint effort of all democratic parties here to mobilise enough voters to keep neo-Nazi parties out of Bundestag. As recent state elections have shown, succeeding in doing so also largely depends on getting people in general to cast their votes as low voter turnout tends to support extremist parties, which get to mobilise all of their electorate, and helps them gain parliament seats as half of the members of Bundestag are elected through proportional presentation.
If you care to know what German party your views go in line with most, use the “Wahl-O-Mat“, a party-comparing tool provided by the German Centre for Political Education (Bundeszentrale fÃ¼r politische Bildung).