Czech President Zeman in Jerusalem: ‘If we betray Israel, we betray ourselves’

Czech President Milos Zeman speaks during a special session in his honor at the Knesset.

“Prime Minister Netanyahu said that the Czech Republic is the best friend of Israel in Europe. I wonder why only in Europe,” he quips to laughter from Israeli lawmakers.

“My speech is a message of solidarity with Israel and Jewish people,” he says.

he adds: “We Europeans, and now I do not speak about America, I speak about the EU in fact, sometimes hesitate more. We sometimes are cowards. It is very impolite, isn’t it? But I am afraid it is frank. And that’s why it is necessary all the time [to stand in] solidarity with Israel. Because if we betray Israel, we betray ourselves.”

“Tomorrow I will open the Czech House. Where? In Jerusalem. And it connects CzechInvest, CzechTrade, CzechTourism, and so on. I am no dictator, unfortunately. But I promise I will do my best in order to realize the third step, after the honorary consulate and Czech House. And you can guess what is to be the third step,” he adds, referring to previous comments he made in support of moving the Czech embassy to Jerusalem.

He concludes his speech in under eight minutes, a remarkably short speech for a visiting foreign leader.

— Raphael Ahren

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