Credit: Jana Merkova /

Czech Defence Minister Cernochova Meets Israeli Counterpart On Visit To Tel Aviv

Czech Defence Minister Jana Cernochova arrived in Israel today, where she met Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant, Defence Ministry spokesman Karel Capek told CTK.

Their talks focused on the security situation in the Middle East and Europe, military-industrial cooperation between the two countries, and acquisition projects, the ministry said in a press release.

Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky was the first foreign politician to visit Israel after the 7 October attack on Southern Israel by the Palestinian Hamas movement. In October, Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala visited Israel, and in early December, the heads of the upper and lower houses of the Czech parliament, Senate Speaker Milos Vystrcil and Chamber of Deputies Speaker Marketa Pekarova Adamova, visited the country. In mid-January, President Petr Pavel also went to Israel.

During today’s visit, Cernochova expressed solidarity with Israel and the Czech Republic’s unequivocal support for the country in its military offensive against Gaza.

“Israel is our closest partner in the Middle East,” the minister said. “As in 1948, we stand by your side and are ready to provide assistance according to your needs.” She reiterated her support for Israel’s right to “self-defence” and condemned “the crimes committed by Hamas against Israel and its civilian population”.

According to the ministry, Cernochova praised what she described as Israel’s steps to increase humanitarian supplies to the Gaza Strip, and highlighted recent Czech aid worth several million crowns to support civilians in the Gaza Strip and Israeli medical organisations. She said it was essential to prevent the conflict from spreading to the wider region.

“The security situation is significantly worsened by Houthi attacks on commercial ships in the Red Sea and by attacks by Iranian-backed militias on US troops in the region. Retaliatory action is necessary to deter further attacks,” she said.

Israel launched an offensive in Gaza in response to the terrorist attack by Hamas, whose gunmen attacked the Israeli border area on October 7, killing over 1,100 people and kidnapping around 240. One hundred hostages were released at the end of November and 130 people continue to be held. 

The large-scale Israeli military assault on Gaza has so far killed almost 28,000 Palestinians, according to the authorities, mostly women and children. In addition, Israel’s restrictions of food, water, electricity, and communications in the territory has caused an unprecedented humanitarian crisis and left hundreds of thousands of people without shelter, and at risk of famine and infectious diseases. Last month, the International Court of Justice warned Israel to take “every available measure” to avoid indiscriminate killing of civilians, responding to charges brought by the Government of South Africa that genocide was taking place in the territory. 

Cernochova and Gallant also discussed defence cooperation and purchases. The Czech Republic has recently concluded several large military contracts with Israel. In October 2021, the Czech Ministry of Defense signed a contract for the purchase of the Israeli Spyder anti-aircraft missile system, which will replace the Soviet-designed and manufactured 2K12 KUB anti-aircraft missile set, now over 40 years old. The value of the contract was CZK 13.7 billion.

Brno Daily Subscribe
Sign up for morning news in your mail