The town twinning relationship between Dortmund and Netanya exists since 1981.
Coat of arms of Netanya.
Picture: Creative Commons Attribution - Share Alike 3.0 Unported Wikimedia Commons / Yaakov Zimberknopf
Youth exchanges, in particular, form a very important part of this relationship. Around 4500 youths from Netanya and Dortmund have participated in these exchange programmes so far, which are supported by sponsoring organisations created for this purpose in each city.
The twinning charter gets to the heart of the request that accompanies this partnership:
"While not forgetting the terrible crimes that the Nazis committed to the Jewish people, we wish to lay the foundation for true friendship between our cities and peoples."
Since 1972, the City of Dortmund has been inviting former Jewish citizens of Dortmund, who were forced to leave their homeland during the Nazi period, to visit Dortmund. This action, which was seen as an exemplary measure of ideational atonement, is intended to fulfil the common wish of the Jewish and German people for reconciliation.
The main promenade of the cliff in Netanya.
Picture: Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Generic Wikimedia Commons / Pikiwiki Israel
In 1974, the Personnel Office of the City of Dortmund, organised trips to Israel for young employees. Netanya was one of the places of encounter. The youth football team TuS Rahm established contact with Maccabia Netanya. In the subsequent period encounters took place in both Dortmund and Netanya. The youth welfare office of Dortmund also organised trips to Israel.
In 1979, Lord Mayor Günter Samtlebe signalled his interest to the Israeli Association of Cities in strengthening relations with one Israeli city. (The presidency of the German Council of Cities also encouraged the adoption of twinning relations with Israeli cities). The Council of Elders of the City of Dortmund had been discussing the possibility of adopting a twinning relationship with an Israeli city. The Israeli Association of Cities responded that such an issue merited serious consederation.
In August 1979, Reuven Kligler the Lord Mayor of Netanya at the time proclaimed his wish to intensify relations with Dortmund. After further written correspondence, Dormund's Council of the Elders recommended taking up twinning relations with Netanya.
On June 6,1980, a corresponding resolution was passed by the Council. The exchange of twinning documents followed on May 14, 1981 in Dortmund and on November 11, 1981 in Netanya.
Dortmund's exhibition on "resistance and persecution" was shown in Netanya. This was followed by an extensive exchange programme, which involved youth and pupil exchange programmes in particular. There are currently 6 school partnerships that have been described as exemplary by the Israeli Association of Cities.