PM Benjamin Netanyahu, Hungarian PM Viktor Orban and Czech PM Andrej Babis hold a press conference in Jerusalem, March 11, 2021. (Alex Kolomoisky/POOL) (Alex Kolomoisky/POOL)
Netanyahu Babis Orban

The Czech Republic is the second European Union member state to open a diplomatic mission in Jerusalem, after Hungary.

By Aryeh Savir, TPS and United with Israel Staff

The Czech Republic inaugurated its diplomatic offices in Jerusalem on Thursday, an extension of its embassy in Tel Aviv. It had  already established a cultural and trade center in Jerusalem.

The Czech Republic is the second European Union member state to open a diplomatic mission in Jerusalem, after Hungary.

Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš arrived in Israel together with his Hungarian counterpart Viktor Orban earlier in the day to meet with the country’s leadership and learn about its success in contending with the COVID-19 pandemic.

He attended the inauguration ceremony, together with Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi and Minister of Internal Security Amir Ohana.

Ashkenazi stated at the inauguration that “the changes in the Middle East should be based on a recognition of the reality and historical truth that the city of Jerusalem has been the spiritual center of the Jewish people and its capital for over 3,000 years and the capital of Israel since its establishment.”

Babiš and Orban met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later in the day. The three leaders participated in a summit meeting on advancing cooperation in the research, development and production of vaccines.

In a statement after the meeting, Netanyahu expressed appreciation that Orban and Babis opened up missions in Jerusalem “and also that they assist us on the international stage as true friends do.

“In the spirit of that friendship, they came here to Jerusalem to see how we can cooperate on COVID,” he added.

“We discussed a number of ideas. The first is exchanging green passports, as we’ve done with several countries already. It would be an important addition to add Hungary and the Czech Republic to this but equally to see how we can involve both Czech Republic and Hungary in the international plant that we want to build here in Israel for the production of the vaccines of the future,” Netanyahu said.

“We discussed this. I have to say that there is interest in cooperating on this. This creates a capability for our countries that is I think more significant when we do it together. We are better together.”

The Czech move joins the wave of countries that have announced the opening of embassies in Jerusalem in the past months, including Kosovo, Serbia, the Dominican Republic, Malawi, and Equatorial Guinea.

The US and Guatemala in May 2018 relocated their embassies to Jerusalem.

Honduras, which has a commercial office in Jerusalem, said that it will relocate its embassy to the capital by the end of 2020.

Brazil has a trade office in the capital.

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