Watch CBSN Live

Germans Train With Israel Army

For these German officer cadets, the routine is familiar. The terrain is not.

Seventeen future officers of the German army have been in Israel on a three-week training course. Young Germans and Israelis are studying the art of warfare together for the first time.

The cadets' agenda hasn't been all rifle ranges and assault courses. There was also a visit to the Holocaust Memorial. For Israelis and modern Germans alike, the past is an inescapable part of the present. But what is striking here is that it all seems so normal.

These could be any two armies sharpening their skills professional to professional. In their time off, they are more likely to talk about sports than history.

Any irony there may be in German officers-to-be becoming honorary members of a crack Israeli army big grade was firmly pushed aside by the participants themselves.

"It was me asking, 'So, tell me what do you think about German
soldiers being here facing history?' And he was like, 'Come on, you guys are a new generation,'"
said German Officer Cadet Chritain Muth, recalling a conversation with an Israeli soldier.

The cadets have been training with an Israeli unit being readied for action in Lebanon. Union instructors haven't any time for the past.

"The last thing I can afford to think about is what happened 35 years ago in the Second World War," said Adam Sher of the Israeli army.

But even young men with a mission couldn't avoid feeling history is looking over their shoulder. They want to make sure the crimes of the past never happen again.

By Correspondent Jesse Schulman

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue