Czech republic relationship with israel

Czech Republic–Israel relations - Wikipedia

czech republic relationship with israel

Although a close friend of Israel, the Czech Republic has supported influence on shaping the Israeli- Czech relationship and is helpful in. Relations between Israel and the. Czech Republic: From Sentiment to. Pragmatism? Irena Kalhousová. Relations between the EU and Israel are currently. Relations between Israel and the Czech Republic, and its predecessor state Czechoslovakia, have varied widely over time. Initially warm, Czechoslovakia- Israel.

For the Czechs, the Munich Pact is still one of the important events which forms their view on and understanding of the world affairs.

Deconstructing the complex, yet sanguine, relations between Israel and the Czech Republic |

The fact that two great powers betrayed a small state in the middle of Europe in order to placate an aggressive Nazi regime left the Czechs with a bitter feeling of being betrayed and abandoned. With such an experience, the Czechs partially identify themselves with the people of Israel.

Not unlike Czechoslovakia of the s, Israel is seen by the Czechs as the only democracy surrounded by non-democratic regimes. Trauma of surrender Israeli readiness to protect its territory even with the use of force and its unwillingness to rely on others in matters of security, which is in Western Europe often interpreted as aggressiveness and stubbornness, is understood in the Czech Republic.

Yet, under pressure, they surrendered and sacrificed the territorial integrity of Czechoslovakia and as a result, the well-equipped and trained Czechoslovak army was forced to capitulate. The trauma of surrender contributed to the admiration of the Israeli ability to resist and fight back.

Similarly, Israelis feel very positive about the Czechs. The Czechoslovak delegation to the UN special commission promoted the idea of the partition of Palestine in into a Jewish and Arab states.

czech republic relationship with israel

At the same time, the pilots of Haganah, the predecessor of the Israeli army, received their training in Czechoslovakia. One of those pilots, Ezer Weizmann, later became the Israeli president.

InCzechoslovakia was the first country which supplied the newly born Israel with arms—doing so in spite of an international embargo.

Deconstructing the complex, yet sanguine, relations between Israel and the Czech Republic

The older generation of Israelis especially still sees this aid as having been one of the important factors that contributed to the victory of the Jewish state in the first Arab-Israeli war in However, this military aid was not purely altruistic, as Israel paid a significant amount of money for the weapons, which after WW II were plentiful in that part of Europe.

Although during Communism Czechoslovak-Israeli relations were cooled down, immediately afterthe relations were renewed and today, both countries see themselves more than just allies, but rather as friends. For Israel, the Czech Republic is a country which understands the geopolitical situation of the Jewish state and unlike some Western European countries is not hypocritically pacifistic. Masaryk, advocated at the UN a plan to partition Palestine into two states, one Jewish and other Arab.

At the same time, Czechoslovakia was the only state that provided the Jewish Agency later to become the Israeli government with weapons, aircraft and training for the pilots of the Hagana — despite the arms embargo the UN had imposed — in the fighting against an invasion by six well-armed Arab militaries. Of course, it is necessary to emphasize that the price of the Czechoslovakian aid — which was hardly altruistic — was very high, and Israel paid, since it was fundamental to the survival of the young state.

Nowadays, the situation is somewhat reversed: At first, military aid for the Jewish state received a temporary boost. Therefore, Czechoslovakia aborted military and economic deals with Israel.

The rupture in relations led to virulent anti-Zionist campaigns in Czechoslovakia, which prompted hundreds of Jews to seek to emigrate. Moreover, the Communist regime supplied military equipment to Palestinian terrorist groups such as Fatah and the Palestine Liberation Front, and the Palestinian Liberation Organization was allowed to operate in Prague as the group representing the interests of the Palestinian people.

After the fall of communism indiplomatic relations were reestablished, and in Aprilthen- Czech president Vaclav Havel became the first leader from former Communist Central-Eastern Europe to visit Israel.

Good relations with the Jewish state became symbolic of independent foreign policy as well as confirmation of the Czech Euro-Atlantic position. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, good relations with Israel became a symbol of freedom for former Communist countries. Lastly, but equally important, the post-Communist countries had fewer Muslim minorities, and this enabled them to form their Middle Eastern politics independently of political pressures by Muslim groups.

czech republic relationship with israel

In recent years, Prague has supported Israel even during events which brought strong attacks from all the South and North parts of the European Union. In summerwhen Israel fought the Hezbollah, many of the European countries demanded an immediate ceasefire.

The Czech position was highlighted at that time as Prague held the Presidency of the European Council and therefore was speaking in the name of the entire European Union.

czech republic relationship with israel

The Czech plan to organize an Israel-European Union summit at the end of the Presidency, the aim of which was to upgrade the relations between the European Union and the Jewish state, was then canceled. Some of the European Union members were against strengthening the relations with Israel without progress in the peace process.

czech republic relationship with israel

Although the Czech program was not realized, the special relationship between the Czech Republic and the Jewish state remained strong. In order to understand the deep roots of this close relationship, one must look back to recent history. In the Czech lands, the relations between the local population and the Jews were uncomplicated. The Czech Jews belonged culturally either to the German or the Czech populations of the country, which, untilwas very multicultural.

Both the Czech- and German- speaking Jews were assimilated and were an integral part of the business, cultural and scientific elite of the Czech state.

Czech policy towards Israel: No hypocritical pacifism » V4Revue

In comparison to other parts of Eastern Europe, especially Poland, the Czech elites tended to be less antisemitic. In he was the first head of state to visit British Palestine. For the average Czech citizen, the Munich Pact was, and still is, one of the most important events in forming their opinions regarding world politics. The fact that two major powers betrayed a small state in Central Europe in order to appease the aggresive Nazi regime left the Czechs with a bitter feeling of almost unforgiveable betrayal and abandonment.