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Senate head visits Israel this week, meets Netanyahu on Monday

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Prague, July 1 (CTK) – Senate chairman Milan Stech (Social Democrats, CSSD) and several other Czech senators will visit Israel this week and meet Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and PM Benjamin Netanyahu, Stech has told CTK.

The visit of the senators will focus on the 100th anniversary of the foundation of Czechoslovakia and the role of first Czechoslovak President Tomas Masaryk in the development of Israel that was established 30 years later.

“It is sometimes said the Czech Republic is one of the most so-called pro-Israeli countries in the world. It seems to me this is mainly because we simply know each other well and trust one another as friends do,” Stech said.

He recalled that the history of the relations between the two countries dates back very far.

Masaryk won support for the foundation of the Czechoslovak state also thanks to the influence and contacts of Jewish economic, political and cultural officials, Stech said.

He said Masaryk visited Jerusalem and Tel Aviv in then British Palestine in 1927 as the first president, he actively dealt with local Jewish community and the Zionist project.

After World War Two, Czechoslovakia was one of the biggest supporters of the foundation of Israel. Czechoslovak Foreign Minister Jan Masaryk openly supported the idea in the United Nations.

It is very warning that in many especially West European countries one can see a steep rise in anti-Semitism in the recent years. It looks as if the mediaeval prejudices were revived. It is apparent that fight against anti-Semitism unfortunately is far from being over,” Stech said.

On Monday, Stech will meet Netanyahu.

On Tuesday, the senators will visit the Knesset, Israeli parliament and Stech will have a meeting with Knesset chairman Juli-Joel Edelstein and Slovak parliament head Andrej Danko. The three parliament speakers will open the exhibition Masaryk and the Holy Land, which remembers the contribution of Tomas Masaryk and Jan Masaryk to the establishment of the State of Israel.

On Wednesday, the Czech delegation has a meeting with PM Rivlin and it takes part in a commemorative event in the Yad Vashem Holocaust Remembrance Centre.

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