When the Federal Security Council passed new political principles for arms exports under Chancellor Helmut Schmidt in spring 1982, a secret protocol note was adopted, which became known as the Israel Clause. It stated that decisions about arms exports should “also take into account the historical responsibility of the Germans towards the Jewish People”. The background was that Saudi Arabia wished to purchase hundreds of Leopard 2 tanks, which had led to months of controversy in Bonn and a deep crisis in German-Israeli relations. For the first time Hubert Leber investigates the 1981/82 tank dispute on the basis of both German and Israeli government files while connecting international relations with the politics of the past. This postulated responsibility, which the German government approved on the initiative of Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher, marked a caesura in Bonn’s Israel policy. While until then a sort of statute of limitations paradigm applied in relation to the Jewish state, the memory of the Holocaust was recognised as a permanently operative factor in German governance in the early 1980s.