The 97th anniversary of the establishment of the independent Czechoslovak State on October 28, in 1918, which declared independence from the Hapsburg Empire at the end of World War I and the Day of the Armed Forces of the Czech Republic, were celebrated in Israel at the Ambassador of the Czech Republic H. E. Ivo Schwarz and his wife Eva in their Hertzliya Pituach residency , together with Mr Pave Petrásek Military and Air Attaché to Israel,LTC and wife Andrea
The Orchestra that came especially from the Czech Republic for the event played a pleasant classical and favorite Czech tunes.
The Honorary guests were the Israeli Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Uri Ariel, and a delegation of ministers and business representatives who came specially from the Czech Republic : The Czech Minister of culture Daniel Herman, The Czech Minister of Regional Development Mrs Karla Šlechtová, the Minister of Labor and Social Affairs, Mrs.Michaela Marksova, Michael Zantovsky former ambassador of Czech Republic in Israel, among the israeli guests were present : David Hercky Honorary Consul of the Czech Republic , Ambassador Shlomo Morgan from the Israeli Foreign Ministry and Dan Propper.
The ceremony started with the orchestra playing the Czech National Anthem, followed by the Israeli National Anthem "Hatikva".
The Ambassador addressed the guests and thanked them for joining the celebrations of the Czech National Day. He then briefed about the recent Czech history, on October 28, 1918, when the first independent Czechoslovak state was founded, one of the few European states with successful multi-party parliamentary democracy, democratic government and Jewish friendly policy.
Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, Czech president at that time, was a keen supporter of the Zionist movement and the first head of state who visited the Jewish communities in Palestine in 1927. The post-war Czechoslovakia recognized Israel immediately after its proclamation of independence, and supplied it with military equipment when Israel found itself at war with its Arab neighbors. He said: "I mention it because with the celebration of Czechoslovakia's independence we celebrate also the Czech-Israeli friendship".
The ambassador then specified that this year´s celebration is a special one. "At the same time we are commemorating also 25 years of the re-establishment of our diplomatic relations, interrupted by the communist regime in 1967. It was a great merit of our first Democratic President after 1989, Mr. Václav Havel, who renewed the tradition of a strategic friendship between the two countries, and I am happy that this year has been also dedicated to him." The Ambassador went on explaining that this is the reason why so many representatives from the Czech Republic are attending the event - the minister of culture, Mr. Daniel Herman, the minister of regional development, Mrs. Karla Šlechtová, the minister of labor and social affairs, Mrs. Michaela Marksová, and the director of the Václav Havel Library and former ambassador in Israel Mr. Michael Žantovský. All of them participated on a number of events during the Václav Havel Week, which ends today with this reception.
The Ambassador mentioned the fact that during this year several public places in Israel were named after Václav Havel, who was the first head of state for the former communist bloc who visited Israel – similarly to Masaryk in the 1920s. Many streets and squares in this country bear the name of Masaryk, and I am very glad that more and more Israeli municipalities are deciding to honor in this way also Václav Havel. He concluded by saying: "I am looking in a positive way to the future. I strongly hope that our relations will develop in the same way towards a better future for all of us. Therefore, I am happy to see you here to support us in our effort, and celebrate the independence day of a state on the spiritual foundation of which the Czech Republic was established. "
Then, the Czech Minister of culture Daniel Herman addressed a warm and friendly speech about the event .
On behalf of the government and the people of Israel, Uri Ariel, Israel's Minister of Agriculture & Rural Development, congratulated the Czech Republic on the occasion of its National Day: "It is a great honor to address the residents of a country that is a close, loyal and devoted friend of Israel. I would like to take this opportunity to express how deeply we appreciate and value the close relationship between our countries and our people".
He then continued by saying that "Israel will never the forget the difficult years in which Czechoslovakia stood firmly by our side when the State of Israel was first established, nor will we forget the supply of Czech ammunition that we received and the training for our pilots when Arab forces invaded our land in order to destroy the newly-born Jewish State".
"The close friendship between our two countries is not a thing of the past. It persists to this very day, and, as time passes, it becomes increasingly strong"; and reaffirmed by stating that: "The Czech and Israeli governments have a long-standing tradition of joint meetings, known as G2G, in which corresponding government ministers meet and discuss plans for collaboration. We hope to convene for the fourth meeting in this series in 2016".
"The relationship between Israel and the Czech Republic has several unique expressions, including parallel university chairs established with government funding in both the IDC in Herzliya and the Masaryk University in Brno, and the Czech-Israel Forum that has already convened several times. We intend to continue to develop other unique elements of this bilateral relationship".
"We attach highest importance to promoting relations between the younger generation of Israeli and Czech citizens. Therefore, we are in the process of promoting a working holiday agreement that will allow young adults from both countries to
reside in the other country for an extended period of time, and combine temporary jobs with a holiday, thus having the opportunity to get to know one another."
He concluded by conveying sincere wishes to the Czech Republic to continue enjoying peace and prosperity, and strengthening the ties of friendship and cooperation between the Czech Republic and Israel in the years ahead.
The celebration continued happily in the drizzling weather, while the guests enjoy each other, the fine bar and excellent buffet, with typical food. Separately, kosher food was served that included some specialties prepared for the event.
The beautiful and friendly atmosphere continued with the orchestra, which played Mr. Václav Havel"s favorite tune, Lou Reed song "It'ss just a perfect day I want to spend it with you".
Happy Czech National Day from www.diplomacy.co.il Staff !!!!!
Photos Silvia Golan