update deskIsrael at War

Netanyahu thanks visiting Czech president for ‘unreserved support’

Petr Pavel also met with President Isaac Herzog.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hosts Czech President Petr Pavel in Jerusalem, Jan. 15, 2024. Photo by Haim Zach/GPO.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hosts Czech President Petr Pavel in Jerusalem, Jan. 15, 2024. Photo by Haim Zach/GPO.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Petr Pavel, the president of the Czech Republic, in Jerusalem on Monday.

They were joined by Netanyahu’s National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi and diplomatic adviser Ophir Falk, and ambassador to Prague Anna Azari.

Netanyahu updated Pavel on developments in the war against Hamas and thanked him for the “unreserved support of the Czech government and the Czech people for the State of Israel and its just fight against the terrorist organization Hamas.”

The two leaders also discussed strengthening cooperation in the fields of security, energy, agriculture and innovation. A memorandum of understanding between the countries on cyber issues will be signed on Tuesday.

Earlier, Pavel met with President Isaac Herzog, who thanked Prague for sending the first senior government official to the Jewish state in the aftermath of Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre of some 1,200 people.

(On Oct. 10, Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský was the first high-ranking politician to pay an official visit to Israel after the deadly attack.)

“Thank you for your support and efforts to see the hostages returned home,” said Herzog. “Thank you for being a voice of moral clarity in Europe and around the world.”

Pavel said he was glad to travel to Israel during his first year in office; he assumed his post in March.

“Since we have a long-term strategic partnership with Israel, business cooperation and the future of relations between the two countries were also a big topic [of their discussion],” Pavel said.

In October, Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala traveled to Jerusalem to “make it very clear: The Czech Republic stands with Israel, now and ever.

“And like 75 years ago, you can count on our voice and support,” Fiala told Netanyahu during a meeting.

For several months in 1948, Czechoslovakia supported the infant Jewish state with military aircraft and weapons.

Also in October, Czech Defense Minister Jana Černochová called for her country to leave the United Nations following the General Assembly‘s approval of a nonbinding resolution demanding a ceasefire in Gaza that didn’t mention Hamas or the hundreds of hostages kidnapped by the Islamist terrorist group.

“In my opinion, the Czech Republic has no place in an organization that cheers on terrorists and does not respect the fundamental right to self-defense,” Černochová said. “Let’s get out.”

The following month, a group of Czech parliamentarians launched an international campaign to encourage countries to relocate their embassies to Jerusalem.

Three days after the Oct. 7 attack, the Czech Parliament unanimously adopted a resolution calling on the government to move its embassy to the Israeli capital.

Fiala subsequently said that the move would take place “in a matter of months” to show support for Israel.

The Czech Republic is one of Israel’s closest allies in Europe, but until now it has kept its embassy in Tel Aviv in keeping with European Union policy.

“I believe the situation now is such that we should speed it up to unequivocally support Israel,” said Fiala when asked about a possible relocation.

“It is an issue that can be resolved in a matter of months, not years and not weeks,” he said.

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