Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu to visit Czechia in early October

Czechia and Israel have long had a close relationship, with Netanyahu previously saying that Israel had 'no better friend' in Europe than Czechia. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 18.08.2023 11:19:00 (updated on 18.08.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to visit Prague for crucial talks in early October, despite facing domestic and international challenges related to his country's judicial reforms. Incoming Czech ambassador to Israel Veronika Kuchyňová Šmigolová confirmed the news on Thursday.

Talks on co-operation

The Czech government hopes to reaffirm the Czech Republic's robust ties with Israel. Prime Minister Petr Fiala plans to reignite joint government talks with Israel, with Netanyahu himself expected to lead a delegation to Prague for talks in around seven weeks.

Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs Eli Cohen will also visit Prague with Netanyahu. Both will discuss topics such as defense, science, research, innovation, education, training, and transportation.

The Czech Republic and Israel's long-standing relationship, founded upon historical ties involving figures such as former presidents Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk and Václav Havel, will be the focal point of the discussions. 

However, Netanyahu's controversial judicial reform has been generating heated protests both domestically and internationally, including among Czechia’s Israeli community. Israel's parliament recently passed a law curbing the authority of the Supreme Court in favor of the government, which has been a point of contention.

A close relationship

Official Czech-Israeli intergovernmental consultations were instituted during former Prime Minister Petr Nečas' tenure, with the inaugural session occurring in Prague in 2012 under Netanyahu's leadership. Notably, Tomáš Pojar, current national security advisor to Fiala, was the Czech ambassador to Israel at the time. The most recent joint meeting of the governments took place in 2016 in Israel.

Netanyahu stated that Israel had "no better friend in Europe than the Czech Republic" when visiting Prague in May 2012. In a later UN General Assembly vote that same year, the Czech Republic was the only nation in Europe to join Israel in voting against giving Palestine the status of "non-member observer state."

The Czech Parliament rejected the EU's recommendations to label Israeli goods made in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights in December 2015.

After Hungary, the Czech Republic became the second member of the EU to establish a diplomatic mission in Jerusalem in 2021 under the leadership of then-Prime Minister Andrej Babiš.

Despite the challenges that Netanyahu and his government face at home, the forthcoming discussions between the Czech Republic and Israel signify a commitment to maintaining and nurturing their historically enduring relationship.

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