Czech Republic and Israel to boost cooperation in science and economy

Benjamín Netanyahu y Petr Nečas, foto: ČTK

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrived in Prague for a two-day visit, the first by an Israeli PM to the Czech Republic. Mr Netanyahu and his Czech counterpart, Petr Nečas, discussed ways of boosting cooperation between the two countries in science and research, industry and defence; the officials also praised the excellent relations between both countries.

Benjamin Netanyahu, Petr Nečas, photo: CTK
Benjamin Netanyahu is the first Israeli prime minister to pay a visit to the Czech Republic. On Thursday, he met with Czech Prime Minister Petr Nečas for talks on advancing cooperation between the two countries in science, economy and defence.

After the meeting, Mr Nečas told reporters Israel had an innovative, science and research-based economy, and added that its technology incubator projects were especially inspiring. But he would also like to extend Czech-Israeli cooperation to other areas.

“We would like to extend our cooperation in science and technology to universities and academic research centres. We also discussed economic cooperation in several areas, including the defence industry and the cooperation of our armed forces, for instance in training and education.”

Benjamin Netanyahu, photo: CTK
For his part, Mr Netanyahu said the details should be discussed at joint sessions of Czech and Israeli government officials; the Czech Republic would be the fourth country, after Germany, France and Poland, to hold such joint ministerial meetings with Israel.

“We have decided to have ministerial exchanges between Israel and the Czech Republic. That is, we should have governmental meetings on ministerial level to put all these programmes on a clear schedule and accountability on the part of our ministers; they should do what we ask them to. I think this will accelerate the strengthening of the relations between our two countries.”

The Czech and Israeli prime ministers also praised the history of excellent relations between both countries. Petr Nečas said Israel was an advanced democracy in an unstable region, while Benjamin Netanyahu thanked his host for the country’s unwavering support of the Jewish state.

“You’ve done this time and again, and it’s something that’s appreciated beyond the question of utility. It’s the question of morality and moral rectitude; it’s the question of honouring dignity and truth. You have passed all these tests in ways that I think should serve as an example to many other democracies.

“This is an opportunity, Prime Minister, to say thank you to you, to the government and to the people of the Czech Republic.”

It’s not clear however whether Czech support for Israel will be translate into the Czechs not voting in favour of accepting Palestine as a UN member state, an issue that might be put to a vote at September’s UN General Assembly session. When asked about the matter at Thursday’s news conference, Czech Prime Minister Petr Nečas only said strategic partnership with Israel should not depend on progress in the Middle East peace process.