Czech president addressed Knesset Tuesday, refers to himself as Israel’s “best friend”; Inauguration of Czech House in Jerusalem; Netanyahu: Next year in the Czech Embassy in Jerusalem; Netanyahu to visit Chad in coming weeks.
Czech President Milos Zeman addressed the Knesset (Israel’s Parliament) on Tuesday and was awarded the “Protector of Jerusalem Award”.
President Zeman met with Prime Minister Netanyahu on Tuesday and toured Jerusalem, meeting with Israeli officials, including President Rivlin. The president then attended the opening ceremony for the Czech House which will prelude the Czech embassy’s relocation to Jerusalem.
On Tuesday evening he addressed Israel’s politicians, referring to himself as “the best friend of Israel in his country”. Zeman addressed the European Union and its continued denial of Israel’s capital city, Jerusalem, stating “We sometimes are cowards. It is very impolite, isn’t it? But I am afraid it is frank. And that’s why it is necessary all the time the solidarity with Israel. Because if we betray Israel, we betray ourselves.”
On relocating the Czech embassy to Jerusalem, Zeman stated “I am no dictator, unfortunately, but I promise I will do my best.” Zeman stated he hopes following the Czech House, a consulate would be opened, followed by the Czech Embassy.
Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke on Czech-Israeli relations “We have no greater friend than the Czech Republic in the eastern hemisphere… We value the enormous friendship we have with the American people, and there is something similar about the friendship we have with the Czech people and Milos Zeman, who I think is unsurpassed in his friendship to Israel.”
He compared the Czech Republic’s ties with Israel to those of the United States, stating “It’s a deep, deep commonality of values, which you so powerfully expressed. You said yesterday in a magnificent speech in the Knesset, magnificent, you said, ‘If we betray Israel, we betray ourselves.’”
On Zeman’s remarks regarding the EU, he stated “No one in Europe understands so readily and immediately the situation of Israel and the challenge of Israel – a small, beleaguered democracy that is courageously facing the challenges of an undemocratic neighborhood. That’s an understatement. You understand it. But you don’t simply understand it, you speak your mind and your heart, and you speak the truth. And I want to applaud you for this again.”
Ending his address he stated “We are now in late November. So I suggest, next year in the Czech Embassy in Jerusalem. And next year in Prague. We already have a tentative date. There is no better friendship maybe in both hemispheres.”
President of Chad Idriss Deby made history this week as the first Chadian official to visit the State of Israel. Netanyahu and Deby met on security and establishing diplomatic ties. Reports Tuesday claim that the prime minister will travel to Chad in the coming weeks to officially announce ties with the majority Muslim state.
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