Prague, Nov 2 (CTK) – Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek and Israeli Ambassador David Meron opened an exhibition on the contribution of Czechoslovak President Tomas Garrigue Masaryk (1918-1935) and his son Jan to the foundation of Israel on Thursday.
The positive steps taken by First Czechoslovak President Masaryk and his son, who was a foreign minister, became a foundation of the close relationship between the Czech Republic and Israel, Zaoralek and Meron said.
From the beginning, Czechoslovakia and its senior representatives were among those who understood and supported the Jews’ dream to establish their national home in their ancestors’ land, Meron said.
Jan Masaryk was the Czechoslovak foreign minister between 1940 and 1948.
Meron pointed out Tomas Garrigue Masaryk’s trip to the former Palestine Mandate 90 years ago.
This was historically the first visit of a head of state in the former Palestine Mandate, Meron said.
He said Masaryk was awarded the honorary citizen of Tel Aviv in 1935, which shows that he won favour with the Jewish representatives.
When Masaryk died two years later, a special prayer for him was delivered in synagogues and one of the main squares was renamed after him.
Meron also highlighted the merits of Jan Masaryk who, following his father’s model, continued to support Israel in his role of Czechoslovak foreign minister.
Jan Masaryk helped Jewish Holocaust survivors escape post-war pogroms across the former Czechoslovakia.
He also approved the arms deliveries to Israel which was fighting for its independence in the first years of its existence.
Zaoralek told journalists Czechoslovakia’s help was remembered in Israel until now.
“It was said here today that Israel was made possible by the arms deliveries and training of its pilots with the help of Czechoslovakia,” he added.
“Those who have visited Israel officially know that this is very often talked about. This is something that has almost become a part of textbooks there,” Zaoralek said.
The exhibition “Masaryk and the Holy Land” describes the activities of Tomas Garrigue Masaryk and his son Jan on 14 information panels.
It also covers the development of Tomas Garrigue Masaryk’s relationship to Jews.