Funded Cooperation Projects

Research centres, foundations and individual projects: By means of various programmes, the BMBF creates spaces for internationally oriented humanities and social sciences. This nurtures the scientific cooperation between Germany and Israel, and simultaneously serves to deepen the mutual understanding of cultures and societies in both countries.

In 2010, the BMBF established an endowment fund exclusively dedicated to German-Israeli cooperation in the humanities and social sciences and, thereby, engendered the Martin Buber Society of Fellows in the Humanities. Every year, five German and five Israeli postdoctoral candidates are chosen to jointly research on any topic in the humanities and social sciences at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

The Minerva Centres which are co-funded by the BMBF and the Israeli host universities, include several important humanities and social science research institutions. The Hebrew University of Jerusalem is home to the Richard Koebner Minerva Center for German History, the Franz Rosenzweig Minerva Research Center for German-Jewish Literature and Cultural History as well as the Minerva Center for Human Rights at the Faculty of Law. The Minerva Humanities Center at the Tel Aviv University integrates cultural, political, media-science-related and theological approaches to modern societal phenomena in its expressly interdisciplinary profile. This University also hosts the Minerva Institute for German History and the Wiener Library for the Study of the Nazi Era and the Holocaust. An additional centre dedicated to the humanities, the Minerva Center for the Relations between Israel and Aram in Biblical Times, was opened in 2015. The centre is a collaboration of the universities of Bar-Ilan and Leipzig.

The remaining two major BMBF-funded programmes for German-Israeli cooperation, i.e. the German-Israeli Project Cooperation and the German-Israeli Foundation for Scientific Research and Development, also regularly support projects in the humanities and social sciences.

Recent initiatives regarding the internationalisation of research in the humanities and social sciences have also strengthened cooperation with Israel. Since 2007, the BMBF has supported the Käte Hamburger International Centres in the Humanities. The Centre for Dynamics in the History of Religions between Asia and Europe, established at the Ruhr-University Bochum, studies inter-religious impulses and intra-religious developments. The Hebrew University of Jerusalem is one of the project partners. Among the Berlin Centres for Advanced Studies in the Humanities which are co-funded by the BMBF and the federal state of Berlin, the Center for Literary and Cultural Research fosters particularly close relations with Israel. Its institutional cooperation partners are the Minerva Humanities Center (Tel Aviv University) and the Franz Rosenzweig Minerva Research Center (Hebrew University of Jerusalem). In 2015, the 50th anniversary of German-Israeli diplomatic relations, the project 'German-Israeli relationships in the humanities between 1970 and 2000: studies on science and bilateralism' commenced. The Fritz Bauer Institute collaborates with the Rosenzweig Center and the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute in this project.

Germany and Israel cooperate intensively on the development and coordination of secondary school textbooks.  Since 2011, the German-Israeli Textbook Commission (DISBK) examines the history, geography and social studies textbooks of both countries. The focus is on the mutual perception and presentation of the other country, its history and society, and their treatment of the Holocaust and its remembrance. Furthermore, the Commission deals with selected questions concerning globalisation and the presentation of (German) Jewish history in textbooks. The Georg Eckert Institute and the Mofet Institute for Research on Teacher Education in Tel Aviv coordinate the project, which the Federal Foreign Office supports.

Previous joint research emphasised comparable challenges of the then German and Israeli societies regarding migration and integration. The focus was on the immigration from the states of the former Soviet Union, and on the role of populous minorities. The Universities of Jena, Chemnitz, Leipzig, Mannheim, Bielefeld, Haifa and Tel Aviv worked on a BMBF-funded comparative study from 2006 to 2009 and made their main outcomes available on a project website.