Israeli president, in Prague, highlights historic Czech ties


(JTA) — Israeli President Reuven Rivlin highlighted historic ties between the Jewish and Czech peoples during his visit to the Czech Republic.

“As we are marking 25 years since the re-establishment of diplomatic relations between the Czech Republic and Israel, I would like to thank the Czech people for the support they have shown at critical times for Israel,” Rivlin told reporters after meeting with his Czech counterpart, Milos Zeman, at Prague Castle on Wednesday.

For his part, Zeman rejected views that his country’s foreign policy was gradually shifting away from supporting Israel on the international forum.

“I don’t think there has been a change of course in our attitude on Israel,” Zeman said. “The fact that the Czech and Israeli governments are holding joint sessions is a proof of that.”

In their meeting, the Czech and Israeli presidents discussed economic cooperation, investment opportunities and tourism, as well as the recent wave of attacks against Israelis and the situation in the region.

“I believe it is the fate of Jews and Arabs to live together,” Rivlin said. “If they couldn’t live together in Jerusalem, they probably wouldn’t be able to live together anywhere else.”

Rivlin arrived in Prague on Tuesday for a four-day official visit, the first such trip by an Israeli head of state in six years. He is scheduled to launch a Czech-Israeli business forum and visit the former Nazi concentration camp in Terezin, some 40 miles northwest of Prague.

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