President Peres hosted an official state welcome ceremony at the President's Residence for the President of the Czech Republic, Mr Milos Zeman Photo Credit – Mark Neiman/GPO President Peres hosted an official state welcome ceremony at the President's Residence for the President of the Czech Republic, Mr Milos Zeman Photo Credit – Mark Neiman/GPO
Israeli Pres Peres greets Czech Pres Zeman

Czech President Milos Zeman, on a recent visit to Israel, reinforced his commitment to support Israel’s fight against terror.

The friendship expressed by Czech President Milos Zeman during his recent visit to Israel – organized with the purpose of upgrading bilateral trade and investment – was preceded by his proposal, made while still in Europe, to move the Czech embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

As reported in the European Jewish Press, Zeman, in advance of elections in Czech Republic scheduled for October 25-26, stated that “I’ve appointed a cabinet of which I can say for sure that if it stayed in office, it could support this idea [of moving the Czech embassy to Jerusalem]. Since the early election will be held, I’ll wait to see what the new government will be like and I will try to persuade the new prime minister and foreign minister to consider the idea.”

His remarks were made at the annual “Days for Israel” social and cultural event in Hradec Kralove, organized by the Sion Christian Center in cooperation with the Israeli embassy in the Czech Republic.

Zeman’s gesture is consistent with his country’s record of support for the Jewish state, which was recognized in Jerusalem.

Israeli President Shimon Peres, who hosted an official state welcome on Monday morning for Zeman and a delegation of senior Czech government ministers, expressed deep appreciation to the Czech leader for his consistent backing of Israel at the United Nations and within the European Union.

“As a person you don’t know what is hesitation, you call right, right and wrong, wrong and you don’t try to hide between the two. I greet you with profound thanks,” Peres declared.

The Israeli head of state referred to the current threats facing Israel and the free world, lauding Zeman for taking a principled stand on these issues.

“We are following with admiration your clear and strong position about the dangers of our time, like a nuclear Iran, which is aggressive in its intentions, and you were among the leaders who convinced Europe to take a clear stand to convince the Iranians that they must depart from threats and terror and enter a world of justice and hope,” Peres stated. “You did the same with Hezbollah; you convinced Europe that Hezbollah is an organization of terror.”

“Ours is a friendship based on fact, not only on words,” Zeman responded. For example, “the Czech Republic, with the help of our foreign minister, who is in this delegation, declared the decisiveness inside the European Union that the military wing of Hezbollah is to be included into the black list of terror organizations….

“Inside the European Union I have some doubts about the European guidelines against Israel and in my visit in countries within the EU I always repeat that.”

According to Zeman, “The fight against international terrorism is the common task of not only both countries, but of all civilized countries all over the world. This fight must be based on a simple principle – no negotiations with terrorists. If you do not fight, the consequences will be the strengthening of international terrorism and the future fight will be more complicated than the present one. That’s why I’d like to express our full support for Israel as an island of democracy in the Middle East.”

The friendship works both ways. In December 2008, Israel accommodated Czech Republic when its air force required training in a desert environment in preparation for a mission in Afghanistan.

Author: Atara Beck
Date: October 15, 2013