Israel’s friends in Europe can sometimes seem few and far between, but for a
loyal ally it can always count on the Czech Republic. Its special relationship
with the central European country was on display last week when Prime Minister
Binyamin Netanyahu received a warm welcome in Prague. Another manifestation of
the strong ties between the two is the Days of Prague festival that will take
place next week in Israel.
The series of cultural events are spread
throughout the country and will kick off on Sunday.
“This is the largest
Czech cultural festival in Israel ever,” said Czech Ambassador Tomas Pojar in a
briefing with journalists at the embassy in Tel Aviv on
Participants include jazzist Jaroslav Jakubovic, the Kuhn
Choir and the Forman Brothers theater company. Most events will be held in
cooperation with the Israel Festival, but the embassy is also organizing Czech
food tastings at Little Prague, a pub chain, and a live public screening in
Ashdod of the Czech national soccer team’s match in the Euro 2012
According to the ambassador, none of the Czech artists
invited refused to come for political reasons, as is sometimes the case
elsewhere. He said good ties between his country and Israel dates back almost
100 years when Tomásˇ Garrigue Masaryk, the first president of Czechoslovakia,
visited the Yishuv, the Jewish settlement in the British Mandate of
“Perhaps the reason for good ties with Israel is the
anti-clericalism in the Czech Republic,” said Pojar, whose father was also the
Czech ambassador to Israel and who spent a few years as a teen living in
Herzliya. “Perhaps it’s something else.”
There has been talk of holding a
reciprocal “Days of Jerusalem” festival in the Czech Republic, but Pojar said
the initiative would have to come from the city’s municipality.
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