Czech Republic President Miloš Zeman announced that his country would relocate its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem Wednesday.
“A few years ago, I said that our embassy should be transferred to Jerusalem,” Zeman said during a festive event at Prague Castle, which Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely attended. “The time has come.”
The Czech Republic had previously announced that it will open a consulate in Jerusalem.
Dan Propper, the chairman of Osem Food Industries and an Israeli businessman of Czech extraction, was offered the post of honorary counsel.
According to President Zeman, the opening of the consulate would serve as the first of three stages in which the embassy would be completely transferred to Jerusalem.
A statement issued by the Foreign Ministry in Prague said the president’s move was “a recognition of what is acceptable in any country where the embassies are located in its capital.”
Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely had met with a number of Czech officials in Prague Wednesday. One of the primary topics she discussed was the possible transfer of the Czech embassy to Jerusalem. She hoped that the Czech Republic would follow the example of the US and Guatemala, which will open their new embassies in Jerusalem next month.
Hotovely thanked President Zeman. “The time has come to do historical justice. You were one of the first leaders in the world to speak about the importance of the embassy’s transfer four years ago. In light of the special relations between our two countries, we look forward to celebrating the opening of the Czech embassy in Jerusalem soon.”
Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman praised President Zemans’s decision to move the embassy to Jerusalem.
“I congratulate the President of the Czech Republic, Miloš Zaman, on his decision to move the Czech Embassy to Jerusalem. The brave decision of US President Donald Trump has signaled a change in the attitude of the countries of the world to Jerusalem,” Liberman wrote on his Twitter account. Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babi stated earlier this month that he would not relocate the Czech embassy to Jerusalem.
The Czech Republic recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in December following US President Donald Trump’s recognition of the holy city as Israel’s capital.