Czech Foreign Minister First European Politician to Visit Israel After Hamas Attack
On October 11, the Foreign Minister of the Czech Republic, Jan Lipavský, became the first European politician to visit Israel officially following the recent terrorist attack by Hamas over the weekend.
It is reported by Radio Prague International.
Lipavský arrived in Tel Aviv directly from Oman, where he attended a scheduled meeting between the European Union (EU) and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). There was also an emergency meeting of EU foreign ministers concerning the situation in Israel and Palestine.
His trip to Israel was kept under strict confidentiality until his late-night departure from Tel Aviv to Prague. During his visit, Lipavský met with his Israeli counterpart, Eli Cohen, and the President of Israel, Isaac Herzog.
"I travelled to Israel to express the support of the Czech Republic during these challenging times, following the clash with the horrific Hamas terrorist attacks. Israel is one of us, and the attacks and the kidnapping of citizens by radical Palestinians are an attack on us all," Lipavský told reporters in Tel Aviv.
"We discussed other possible steps. Minister Cohen stated that Israel is facing a long war, and the situation there will not be easy," the Czech minister said, adding that Prague has offered its assistance to Israel and is now awaiting a potential request.
President Herzog thanked Lipavský for his visit. "As Israel is fighting a tough war against a ruthless enemy, your visit to Jerusalem today, the first visit by a foreign minister after the Hamas attack, is a sign of deep friendship and solidarity between our peoples," he said.
In addition to official meetings with Israeli politicians, Lipavský also met with the granddaughter of an 85-year-old woman who was abducted by Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
After a four-hour flight from Israel, the plane carrying the Czech Foreign Minister and 34 Czech citizens, who were evacuated from Israel, landed at the military airport in Prague. The evacuated Czechs expressed relief at returning home after flight cancellations due to the conflict.
"Czech diplomacy and security services have once again demonstrated their quality," commented President Petr Pavel.
On October 7, 2023, terrorists launched a massive rocket attack from the Gaza Strip into Israel, firing over 2,000 rockets. On October 8, 2023, Israel officially entered a state of war, deploying artillery and tanks to the border with the Gaza Strip and conducting airstrikes on buildings associated with Hamas terrorists.