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Israeli flag illuminates Brandenburg Gate in Berlin
Ben-Dror Yemini
The gate of change
Op-ed: Lighting up Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate with an Israeli flag following Sunday’s terror attack in Jerusalem is a small step in a consciousness changing process and an important show of solidarity.
Lighting up Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate with an Israeli flag is a form of ceremony. Israel is entering the family of nations. Until now, in the Western public opinion and mainly in the elites’ opinion, Israel has been seen as the cause of terror. That has been expressed occasionally in editorials, or by figures such as former US President Jimmy Carter and Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom, following the terror attacks in Europe. The Israeli flag on one of the most important symbols in Germany somewhat changes the picture.

 

 

Is this also a step towards a change in awareness? Possibly. Because in the past few years, Europe has been going through a certain change. Until less than a decade ago, Israel was perceived—both in comments and in public opinion polls—as one of the biggest threats to world peace. That was false consciousness, the product of successful poisonous propaganda.

 

But something is changing. The Europeans, who are not involved in any occupation or in any oppression, are becoming the victims of terror. Brussels, Paris, Nice and Berlin have joined Madrid and London as jihad targets. The Europeans are afraid of the radicalization of part of the Muslims. They are still failing to understand that it’s not the occupation that causes terror in Israel. But they are beginning to understand.

 

Brandenburg Gate, Monday. Israel is entering the family of nations (Photo: AFP)
Brandenburg Gate, Monday. Israel is entering the family of nations (Photo: AFP)

  

The Brandenburg Gate is a symbol of peace and war. It served everyone. It was commissioned by King Frederick William II of Prussia as a symbol of victory and peace, went through different changes, was used by the Nazis as a government symbol and turned into part of the iron curtain between East and West and between the two parts of Berlin during the communist era, until the wall was torn down. There is not a single tourist in Berlin who doesn’t visit this huge monument in the heart of the city. France has the Arc de Triomphe de l'Étoile. Germany has the Brandenburg Gate.

 

In the past decade, Berlin has become a cosmopolitan city. A city with an atmosphere of freedom and peace among the nations. But like other cities in Europe, Berlin also has ghettos of Muslims, with mosques that nurture radicalization, with youth—a second and third generation of immigrants—that is partly afflicted by blatant anti-Semitism and unwillingness to adopt the Western values.

 

The German academia suffers from the famous diseases of the anti-Zionist stream as well, which emphasizes the gap between the academic elites and the political government, whose attitude towards Israel is much more decent and positive. Nevertheless, we must welcome the symbolic move of an Israeli flag on the Brandenburg Gate following Sunday’s terror attack in Jerusalem. This is a small step in a consciousness changing process. This is an important show of solidarity.

 

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