Prime Minister Netanyahu: Mr. President, it’s a
personal pleasure for me to welcome you in Jerusalem. There’s a genuine
and deep friendship between the Czech people and the Jewish people and
the State of Israel and the Czech Republic. We treasure that
relationship. It’s manifest in not only such a visit as yours and in the
G2G meetings that we have, but in a deeper bond that is based on
centuries of common experience of the Jews and the Czech people.
was in Prague. I had deeply moving moments in the ancient synagogue
there, in the history of the great rabbis of Prague with rich Judaism,
and of course in the modern period, in the bitter experience that
Czechoslovakia experienced as a beleaguered democracy that was accused
of being an obstacle to peace in Europe, that was asked to make
concessions that ultimately not only endangered its own sovereignty and
security but also the security and peace of all of Europe. We’ve learned
that lesson. You have learned that lesson. And we are not about to
I have to say that when I come to Prague, I feel that I
am understood. I feel that Israel’s predicaments are understood from
the heart, from the brain, and therefore, when we seek a genuine peace
it’s something that the Czech people understand immediately. And when we
say that the test of international negotiations is not the process but
the results: results that actually bring genuine disarmament of radical
regimes, this is what we need to see. Genuine disarmament.
talking now, the negotiations that are underway with Iran. We have no
objections to them, but they must bring real results. And the questions
we must all ask is why is Iran insisting on centrifuges for uranium
enrichment? Why is it insisting on heavy water plutonium plants? Why?
If they say all they want is peaceful energy, well, I don’t believe
them. But anyone who is faced with this should ask a simple question:
why do you insist on those elements that are not necessary for civilian
energy, whose sole purpose is to produce nuclear weapons?
and plutonium plants are not needed to produce nuclear energy. In fact
17 countries are producing nuclear energy around the world without them.
The sole reason that Iran is insisting on plutonium reactors and on
centrifuges for enrichment is to produce weapons. Therefore, in a real
agreement, an agreement that produces real results, that produce real
disarmament from nuclear weapons of Iran requires that they give up
completely centrifuges and the plutonium route. If they do that, I think
we could all be satisfied and we could all support this, such an
achievement. If they don’t, well, we’ve been down that road before and
we don’t want to repeat it.
So I think when I say these things in
front of you, Mr. President, you understand deeply, and I say this with
an understanding too that there’s no… We have no better friends in
Europe than the Czech Republic, the Czech people. You come here and you
are welcomed as friends in the deepest sense of the word.
Welcome to Jerusalem, friend.
President Zeman: Thank you.
is my second visit to Israel. I was here 12 years ago and I still
remember my visit including the meeting with Ariel Sharon. I admired his
courage, but in your country, every Prime Minister is to be courageous,
and you are, Mr. Prime Minister. So, I fully understand the necessity
of Jewish independent democratic state, and I repeated this not only
during my visit here but practically during all my political life.
few minutes ago I planted a tree and certain the tree is to have mainly
deep roots in order to prevail the storm if any, and even if you see
the fruits of the tree, the roots are more important. And the tradition
of our friendship has such a deep roots, and more than that, I was
informed about Jewish National Fund, Mr. Prime Minister, who is the big
owner of the homeland and more than that it fights against the deserts.
there is a striking similarity between the history of the Czech
Republic and Israel. In the 30s we were the island of democracy under
the leadership of Tomáš Masaryk, who visited Israel in, I guess,
1921-22. So, and if you have the deep roots and long term tradition
which is based on common experience, I fully understand that your fight
against deserts cannot be limited to physical deserts only. There are
deserts in the human mind, there are deserts represented by some
neighbors, and you mentioned one neighbor in your statement.
am here as a politician who always supported Israel, whether it was
popular or not. Because if you do only popular things, you are not
politician. And this why I firmly believe that my visit will continue
the tradition of friendship, and deep in my heart I do believe we shall
overcome against the common enemy, the international terrorism. Thank
you, Mr. Prime Minister.
Prime Minister Netanyahu: Thank
you. Thank you very much. And welcome to Herzl’s land, the
representative and the continuer of Tomáš Masaryk who was a great
Zionist, great Zionist, one of the great friends that Zionism had. We
admire him. We admire you, Welcome Mr. President.