Press Advisories

23. 1. 2020 18:35

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš attends World Holocaust Forum in Jerusalem

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš attends World Holocaust Forum in Jerusalem, 23 January 2020.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš attends World Holocaust Forum in Jerusalem, 23 January 2020.
On Wednesday 22 and Thursday 23 January 2020, PM Andrej Babiš visited Israel in order to attend a ceremony commemorating the Holocaust and its victims. He had talks with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and met with Czech Holocaust survivors.

The Prime Minister of the Czech Republic began his working visit to Israel by being received by the President of Israel Reuven Rivlin. Together they spoke of the good relations between the two countries, and historical and contemporary cooperation. President Rivlin emphasised the Czech Republic's support for Israel and their cooperation. The Czech PM spoke primarily about consultations on medical cannabis, water management, cooperation among top doctors and the purchase of radars. "The Czech Republic and Israel have excellent healthcare cooperation. We managed to realise six successful paired kidney exchanges from living donors thanks to cooperation between IKEM and the Israeli National Transplant Centre," the Czech PM said.

He and President Rivlin agreed that a strong contingent of world leaders at this year's World Holocaust Forum is important. "Today's complicated political situation leads me to think all the more that leaders should not only commemorate tragedies that have occurred, but should generally speak about what is going on in the world now," added Andrej Babiš after meeting with President Rivlin.

On Thursday the Czech Prime Minister negotiated with Yosi Schnek of the Israel Electric Corporation. "It is fantastic that I had the opportunity to meet with another highly capable professional who has a relationship to the Czech Republic: the head of cybersecurity at Israel Electric Corporation, Yosi Schnek. In the last year they have faced millions of cyber attacks. He will come and visit us. We will organise workshops. We must devote great attention to cybersecurity. On 28 January a cyberconference will take place here; representatives from ČEPS and ČEZ will also be coming. Cyber attacks are the main and most destructive weapon of this time, stronger than the army, and we must increase our security," the PM said of the meeting.

Andrej Babiš also met with three women with Czech roots who survived the Holocaust. "The ladies made a great impression on me. They are energetic and speak openly about what they experienced. By chance all three women at today's meeting shared the name Eva, and that was not the only thing that connected them. Each of them experienced the horrors of the Holocaust, unimaginable to anyone who hasn't experienced it," the PM added.

The main point of the visit to Israel was the World Holocaust Forum on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp. During this event the Czech PM and other global leaders honoured the memory of Holocaust victims by observing a minute of silence. The ceremony kicked off with a speech by Israeli President Reuven Rivlin. A number of other leaders expressed the same wish as the Israeli President: that the horrors experienced by Holocaust victims never be repeated. They also subscribed to the wish that countries around the world fight against anti-Semitism.

"What spoke to me the most was the speech by Rabbi Lau, who arrived at Buchenwald when he was seven and a half years old. He said he won't forget and won't forgive. And he told the leaders that if they want peace, it's up to them. During the four-hour ceremony, many videos also recalled the numbers of dead, the horrible human fates we must remember. All the more so with a new wave of anti-Semitism evident in the world. All the attending politicians therefore publicly promised to fight against it together," PM Babiš emphasised.

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