Present and future bilateral relations between Israel and Slovakia, particularly regarding energy and gas supplies, were among the issues discussed during President Isaac Herzog’s recent trip to Slovakia.The president received a warm welcome from his Slovakian counterpart, Zuzana Caputova, as he touched down in the country on Monday and was greeted with a military honor guard and the traditional offering of bread dipped in salt.It is very important for Slovakia to be able to diversify its sources of energy, and Israel could be a good partner for Slovakia in this field, Caputova said.Slovakia is also interested in strengthening cooperation in ecology, science, defense, and information technologies. Caputova also expressed her pleasure that direct flights between Israel and Slovakia had resumed in April.She noted that it was a milestone anniversary year for the two countries, with Israel celebrating its 75th anniversary of independence and Slovakia its 30th.She commented on the good diplomatic relations between the two countries for the past three decades, while also emphasizing that personal contacts have been going on for much longer and are much deeper. She may have been alluding to the period when Slovakia and the Czech Republic were one entity known as Czechoslovakia. Herzog visited the Czech Republic last year.
Breaching sensitive topics between world leaders
The sensitive subject of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and Israel’s position on the war, came up in conversation between the two presidents, as did the tinder-box situation in the Middle East. However, Herzog pointed out that Israel has provided humanitarian aid to Ukraine.Caputova said that more than 114 countries have condemned Russian aggression, as has the United Nations.Following his private meeting with Caputova, whom he declared to be a great friend of Israel, Herzog held an expanded bilateral working meeting with the participation of Knesset members Yifat Shasha-Biton (National Unity Party) and Boaz Bismuth (Likud).
Herzog emphasized that the Jewish people have deep roots in Slovakia – a place where Jewish culture and religion flourished. This is something that the Jewish people will not forget, he said.But it was not only the thriving Jewish life in Slovakia that is remembered, he added. It is also the cruel and difficult period in which the Jewish community was decimated during the Holocaust.Herzog thanked Caputova for her strong commitment to preserving the memory of the Holocaust.