A young Syrian refugee (AP/Emrah Gurel) (AP/Emrah Gurel)
(AP Photo/Emrah Gurel

“Many Syrian civilians who are fleeing Assad’s terror are gathering at Israel’s northern border. Paradoxically, this is the safest place for them because we provide them with humanitarian aid,” Edelstein said. 

By: United with Israel Staff

Following a welcome ceremony on Tuesday at the Knesset Plaza for Czech Senate President Milan Štěch and Slovakian National Council Speaker Andrej Dank, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein discussed Israel’s efforts to aid Syrian refuges fleeing Assad’s advance from the north.

“Many Syrian civilians who are fleeing Assad’s terror are gathering at Israel’s northern border. Paradoxically, this is the safest place for them because we provide them with humanitarian aid,” he told the visiting officials.

“Around the world people are reacting to this with surprise and amazement, but for us, the Jewish people, it is obvious,” he emphasized.

Last Friday night, the IDF’s 210th Division provided life-saving medical treatment to six Syrians, including four children, and then brought them into Israel for further medical treatment.

This risky operation was part of a unique and complex medical operation run by the IDF on its border with Syria to provide essential aid to refugees of the Syrian civil war and victims of Bashar al-Aassad’s renewed attack on the south.

During the special operation, humanitarian aid was transferred to Syrians fleeing hostilities who are living in tent camps throughout the Syrian Golan Heights.

As part of the operation, which took place over several hours, 300 tents were transferred along with 13 tons of food, 15 tons of baby food, three pallets of medical equipment and medicine, and 30 tons of clothing and footwear.

“The complex situation in our region has also led to some positive developments, as countries such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have realized that Israel is not part of the problem, but part of the solution,” Edelstein added.

An Important Step

Speaking to the press later, Edelstein welcomed the opening of the honorary Czech consulate and Czech culture center in Jerusalem.

“The recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel is an important step, and I hope Slovakia will follow suit,” he said.

Edelstein thanked his Slovakian counterpart Danko for hosting the conference on incitement online, which was held in Bratislava last month at the initiative of the Knesset and the Slovakian National Council.

Proud to Be Pro-Israel

Štěch said that “the Czech Republic is pro-Israel. We are perceived as such, and we are proud of it.”

“A lot has been said about Czechoslavokia’s contribution to Israel, but I wish to thank the Jewish community for its major contribution to the establishment of [our nation] and the advancement of its industry and culture. Judaism and its significant contribution are among the cornerstones of our history,” he underscored

Danko said that his country shares with Israel “the same values, the relations between us are excellent, and we appreciate your wisdom and experience.”

The legislation is the Knesset serves as inspiration for his country he added, as the definition of anti-Semitism in Slovakian law is based on the definitions in Israeli law.

Honoring Czech Contributions

Later on, a special ceremony was held at the Knesset which marked the historic ties between Israel and the nation formally known as Czechoslovakia, including the assassination in 1942 of Nazi war criminal Reinhard Heydrich by members of the Czech underground, and the first course of the Israel Air Force, which was held in Olomouc, Czechoslovakia in 1947.

Two pilots who attended the course, Avraham Harshalom and Yehuda Manor, were at the ceremony, during which Edelstein presented Štěch and Danko with certificates of merit in honor of the bravery of the assassination squad.

The certificates will be put on display in museums in both the Czech Republic and Slovakia.