Czech Prime Minister Andrei Babish has inaugurated the Jerusalem office of the Czech Embassy. The office will have a Czech consul who will handle consular, political and economic issues. This is an extension of the Czech Embassy that will remain in Tel Aviv.
The ceremony was attended by Israel Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi and Minister of Internal Security Amir Ohana, who represented Prime Minister Netanyahu. The opening of the Jerusalem office came as part the fulfillment of Czech President Milos Zeman’s promise to gradually open an embassy in Jerusalem. In the first stage, an honorary consul was appointed in Jerusalem, in the second, the Czechs established the “Czech House” in Jerusalem to promote Czech culture, and in this third phase, they have opened a Jerusalem office that is a diplomatic branch of the embassy in Tel Aviv.
Prime Minister Babish, said at the ceremony: “These days we are fighting a new and powerful enemy that is small in size but strong in its consequences. We turn to Israel, the leading country in the ongoing and demanding fight against the pandemic. But the reason we gather here today has nothing to do with Corona. We are here for a happy occasion. And I am proud to announce to all of you that we, the Czech Republic, are opening a diplomatic legation here in Jerusalem, on Washington Street. More than two years ago our president, Miloš Zeman, opened in this city of the Bible the Czech house, where people are welcome to receive information about tourism and culture, and said that more steps were to come. We keep our promises. We have a full diplomatic mission here in Jerusalem. It is a mission that will discuss various issues, from politics through economic cooperation to consular agendas and other issues. It will have a permanent staff that will work under the leadership of the embassy in Tel Aviv. This marks another milestone in our cooperation and testifies to the importance we give to this great city. And I am absolutely sure that it will continue to promote the strengthening of ties between our peoples and become further proof of our true and sincere friendship, between the Czech Republic and the State of Israel.”
Foreign Minister Ashkenazi added: “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 the State of Israel since its inception.”
Ashkenazi thanked Czech President Miloš Zeaman for his initiative and decision to open the embassy office, and the Czech government for its determined action to combat antisemitism and adopt the IHRA (the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance) definition of antisemitism.
Minister Ohana concluded: “You can imagine how important it is to us that our friends and allies recognize the special connection between the (Israeli) people and this amazing city. In doing so, the Czech Republic joins the US and other members before it. We consider this event to be of high significance, and a tribute on the part of the Czech Republic.”