Czech president meets Rivlin, says Israel is his second home

"In the current situation our friendship is more important than ever," President Rivlin told his counterpart.

By
November 26, 2018 11:01
3 minute read.
Prague

CZECH PRESIDENT Milos Zeman welcomes President Reuven Rivlin at Prague Castle. (photo credit: MARK NEYMAN / GPO)

 
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Israel has always nurtured a special fondness for the Czechs because of the military weapons they supplied during the War of Independence, and the training they provided for fledgling Israeli pilots.

Today the Czech Republic is one of Israel's closest allies in Europe. President Reuven Rivlin was mindful of this when he welcomed Czech President Milos Zeman to Jerusalem on Monday, calling him "a friend of the Jewish People and the State of Israel."

Rivlin thanked Zeman for the Czech Republic's growing friendship and cooperation.

"In the current situation our friendship is more important than ever," he said.

Zeman said he was intrigued by the Israeli president's idea of one state for two nations, but discounted Gaza as a state, saying "Hamas is a terrorist organization not a state."

The Czech president invited Rivlin who was in the Czech Republic three years ago to visit again and to regard it as his second home, just as Zeman regards Israel as his second home.

This is the Czech President's third visit to Israel and his second in his president capacity.

sident Reuven Rivlin was mindful of this when he welcomed Czech President Milos Zeman to Jerusalem on Monday; calling him "a dear friend of the Jewish   People and the State of Israel."

Rivlin reminded Zemen that he had brought two of those veteran Israeli pilots with him when he visited the Czech Republic three years ago.

He thanked Zeman for the Czech Republic 's growing friendship and cooperation.

"In the current situation our friendship is more important than ever" he said.

Zeman said he was intrigued by Rivlin's idea of one state for two nations but discounted Gaza as a state saying "Hamas is a terrorist organization not a state."


He invited Rivlin to visit the Czech Republic again and to regard it as his second home just as Zeman regards Israel as his second home.

This is the Czech President's third visit to Israel and his second in his president capacity.

The two presidents who are obviously fond of each other and who each has a well developed sense of humor, retired to the arbor in the back garden ofg the presidential complex for a private working meeting and then returned to where Czech and Israeli officials were waiting in the intimacy of a small reception hall..

"Ladies and Gentleman, the President of the Czech Republic,' boomed Rivlin with an accompanying dramatic gesture as they entered.  He was immediately followed by Zemen who announced "Ladies and Gentlemen, the President of the State of Israel."

The two presidents discussed regional and European issues, with Rivlin impressing on his guest that Israel is a Jewish and democratic state.  "It cannot be a Jewish state without being democratic," he said, "and it cannot be democratic without being Jewish."

Rivlin emphasized that Israelis and Palestinians have to find a way to live together and to create a wonderful future together.  "The Palestinians are not only our neighbors but our cousins," he said.

Israel's Ambassador to the Czech Republic Daniel Meron noted that Israel's former Chief Scientist Orna Berry was asked last weeki by Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis to serve as an adviser to the Czech Republic on excellence and entrepreneurship.

He also mentioned that Skoda the famous Czech automobile manufacturer has opened an Autodigi Lab in Israel.

Ministers traveling with Zeman were unanimously enthusiastic in their reactions to Israel, saying that it is an amazing country.  The Speaker of the Parliament who is in Israel for the first time, was emotionally touched when on the way to the hotel, he saw Czech flags in the street.

Rodica Radian-Gordon,  the head  of the Israel-Europe Division at Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs was hopeful that an agreement for a Government to Government meeting could be signed in early 2019, and reiterated that the Czech Republic  "is one of our greatest friends in Europe." She said that Israel appreciates the voice of the Czech Republic at the EU "and all the many times you have stood beside us."

During the current visit, a water management agreement related to cooperation on issues of waste water will be signed by the environment ministers of both countries

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