Prime Minister Petr Fiala together with Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer flew to Israel on Wednesday around 12:30 CEST, which is waging a war against the radical Palestinian movement Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip.
The Czech government special took off from Prague in the morning, flew to Israel with a stop in Vienna, where Nehammer arrived. According to Czech cabinet spokesman Václav Smolka, the aim of the talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Yitzchak Herzog is to support Israel, including coordination in the context of the European Council, which has been meeting in Brussels since Thursday. According to Nehammer, a joint trip with Fiala will make it easier for the Israeli side to organize the visit and make it possible to use it effectively.
“I have come to express our unequivocal solidarity with Israel at this extremely difficult time. October 7 was the most tragic for Israel and the Jewish people in decades, the terrorist attacks by Hamas are unspeakably brutal and Israel has every right to defend itself,” wrote the prime minister after landing on the X social network.
At the same time, Petr Fiala emphasized that the Czech Republic started helping Israel with concrete steps early on. “Czech companies immediately supplied Israel with basic military equipment, for example ballistic plates from the STV Group company,” he recalled.
In Israel, Fiala will also meet the family of the Czech-Israeli victim of the Hamas terrorist attack, Oran Elfasi. Elfasi’s death was confirmed last week by the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs. According to the Novinky.cz server, a twenty-two-year-old man was killed in an attack in Kibbutz Nirim, the first Czech victim of the attack. On Wednesday, Fiala will also meet the families of people kidnapped by militants from the Hamas movement, which rules the Gaza Strip, at the Ichilov Hospital.
Interview with the mother of a murdered Czech citizen
He lived in Israel, but he was the same as many of his peers in the Czech Republic: he liked computers, he liked to play games on them, and he was on the verge of a career in a hi-tech company dealing with Internet security. Twenty-two-year-old Oran Elfasi.
After the attacks by Hamas, many Western countries express their support for Israel. On Tuesday, French President Emmanuel Macron visited Israel, who, in addition to Netanyahu, also met with the head of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank. He then flew from Israel to Jordan.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak have also been to Israel. US President Joe Biden arrived in Israel last week.
Shortly after the terrorist attack by Hamas, Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský visited Israel. He arrived there from the ministerial meeting of the European Union in Oman on October 10, and also met with President Herzog and his counterpart Eli Cohen. Together with Lipavský, 34 Czech citizens subsequently returned to the Czech Republic on the first repatriation flight.
The APA agency reported on Tuesday that Austria and the Czech Republic are among the EU countries that consider the Israeli army’s current retaliatory actions as legitimate self-defense. On the other side are countries such as Belgium, Ireland and Spain, which look critically at Israel’s progress in the Gaza Strip and demand a humanitarian ceasefire due to the high number of civilian casualties.
On Saturday, October 7, Hamas surprised Israel and the world with a massive attack from Gaza to the south of Israel, where, according to the Israeli authorities, it killed 1,400 people, mostly civilians. He dragged more than 220 people to Gaza.