Visit of Czech prime minister Bohuslav Sobotka in Israel - November 2014

Post date: Dec 16, 2014 6:26:41 PM

Visit of Czech prime minister Bohuslav Sobotka in Israel - November 2014

Government and business delegation

A Czech government delegation visited Israel during November 24-26. The government delegation was led by Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka. The mission included six government ministers, as well as Deputy Prime Minister for Science, Research and Innovation, Pavel Belobradek. The delegation also included 41 business representatives led by Mr. Vladimir Dlouhy, President of the Czech Chamber of Commerce (HK CR) and Mr. Pavel Smutny, President of the Czech-Israeli Mutual Chamber of Commerce (CISOK). The mission was organized with the support of the Czech Embassy in Israel, the Israel-Czech Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCCI) and the Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce (FICS). The size of the delegation indicates the importance given by the Czechs to developing bilateral relations with Israel.

Mutual Israeli-Czech visits by government representatives have become frequent. 

Since 1990, visits between Israel and the Czech Republic have been quite frequent. Several mutual visits by official representatives take place on various occasions every year – there have been around 80 visits since 1990. The November visit of Bohuslav Sobotka’s cabinet follows a similar joint convention of the two countries’ governments in 2012. At that time right-wing Czech Prime Minister Petr Nečas hosted an Israeli delegation led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The following year no joint government session was held due to a Czech government crisis. Now, the left-wing Czech Prime Minister is continuing this recent tradition, reflecting a positive attitude towards Israel across the Czech political spectrum. During his visit, the Czech Prime Minister stressed that Israel is the Czech Republic's most important business partner in the Middle East. Mr. Bohuslav Sobotka declared that his cabinet is determined to further cultivate strategic relations among the two countries. The next joint session of the two governments is planned for 2015 or 2016, this time in Prague.

Mr. Sobotka expressed his support for the peace process

The main part of the visit was a joint session of the Czech and Israeli governments, preceded by mutual meetings of government ministers and a meeting of Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka with his counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu. Finally, the government delegation met with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin.

The Czech Prime Minister spoke of the peace process and expressed his support for a two-state solution, which would guarantee two independent states – Israel and Palestine. The Prime Minister also offered his help in restoring a dialogue with several Arab countries that have good diplomatic relations with the Czech Republic. Mr. Sobotka emphasized the danger of the Islamic State - he said that it is a direct threat to Europe and that the struggle against it is a long-term challenge. The Czech Prime Minister stated his recognition of Israel's security demands in light of the current global environment. Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu conveyed his appreciation of the position taken by the Czech Republic.

Enhancing cooperation between Israel and the Czech Republic

The Czech government delegation signed several agreements and memorandums during its visit in Israel. It primarily reached agreements on various cooperative ventures in areas of research and development. These agreements will be fulfilled through joint research programs and the support of academic exchanges. Agreements were also reached regarding know-how sharing in the fields of health services, social services and cybernetic security. Furthermore, both countries agreed on cooperation in the fields of defence and film production.

The business delegation signed four agreements

The government visit was accompanied by a business mission. Representatives of Czech companies were divided into two groups – business and science. Czech company Retina finalized an agreement with the Israeli firm Elta Systems. Both Retina and Elta Systems are important players in the area of radar technologies. Cooperation between the two companies should enable know-how exchanges and simplify the entrance of Elta Systems into the Czech market.

The credit insurance company EGAP signed a deal with the Israeli insurance company ASHRA. Both companies specialize in export insurance. The insurance companies agreed on risk sharing in insuring joint projects of national exporters to third countries.

Moreover, two memorandums were signed. The first was signed between Czech company Dekonta and Israeli Sar-17 regarding representation of Dekonta on the Israeli market in the field of remediation of contaminated areas. Another memorandum concerned cooperation in the chemical industry and it was signed between Czech and Israeli organizations.