Netanyahu to Czech President: 'We Have No Greater Friend than the Czech Republic in the Eastern Hemisphere'

PM Netanyahu, Czech Zeman and their Wives Dedicate 'Czech House' and Marked the Czech Republic's National Day.

PM Netanyahu, Czech President Milos Zeman and their wives dedicated 'Czech House' and marked the Czech Republic's National Day. Also attending in the ceremony were Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, Speaker of the Czech Chamber of Deputies Radek Vondracek, Czech Presidential Office Chancellor Vratislav Mynar and other senior officials.

Prime Minister Netanyahu and Czech President Zeman toured the exhibit “Masaryk and the Land of Israel” that depicts first Czech President Tomas Masaryk's 1927 visit.

Prime Minister Netanyahu:

“You challenged me yesterday, correctly. You said that the Czech Republic is the greatest friend of Israel in Europe. And you said, 'Why Europe?' Okay, I’ll amend it. We have no greater friend than the Czech Republic in the eastern hemisphere. There is a close race now about the two hemispheres.

We value the enormous friendship we have with the American people, and there is something similar about the friendship we have with the Czech people and Miloš Zeman, who I think is unsurpassed in his friendship to Israel.

We have flourishing relations with countries of the world. This is the nature of international alliances. They are based on commonality of interests – interests for something, interests against something, and sometimes both.

With the Czech Republic, as with the United States of America, there is something else. It’s a deep, deep commonality of values, which you so powerfully expressed. You said yesterday in a magnificent speech in the Knesset, magnificent, you said, 'If we betray Israel, we betray ourselves.'

You had said earlier, 'I am a Jew.' These are words that don’t come from the mind, they don’t come from calculation. They come from the wellsprings of the heart.

No one in Europe understands so readily and immediately the situation of Israel and the challenge of Israel – a small, beleaguered democracy that is courageously facing the challenges of an undemocratic neighborhood. That’s an understatement. You understand it. But you don’t simply understand it, you speak your mind and your heart, and you speak the truth. And I want to applaud you for this again.

It’s not a secret that I like people who are politically incorrect, but who speak their mind and their heart. But I want to talk about deeds. We just passed through this amazing exposition of Tomas Masaryk. I consider him a modern prophet, like Herzl, really the founder of the modern Czech Republic. That’s almost a hundred years ago. He came here with the same passion and the same sense of truth. And then a few decades later, we will never forget that you supported us in the founding of our state, in the UN vote, among 33 countries. But then went further with deeds; that was words. Then deeds. You gave us the weapons to survive when we had no weapons. We had… We were David with the slingshot. Even David with a slingshot cannot fight tanks and planes and artillery. You gave us better slingshots. We fought and we won, and we’re eternally indebted to you.

Now we’re going through all the deeds, working with each other, to make a better, more secure, more prosperous future for our peoples. But it’s based on the heart. And our heart is grateful, more than grateful – it is deeply, deeply appreciative of your friendship. We are now in late November. So I suggest, next year in the Czech Embassy in Jerusalem. And next year in Prague. We already have a tentative date. There is no better friendship maybe in both hemispheres. Thank you, Miloš.”

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