The arrival of Czech President Milos Zeman in Yerushalayim for a four-day state visit was completely overwhelmed by the passing of Hagaon Harav Chaim Ovadiah Yosef, zt”l, on Monday.
President Shimon Peres cut short a working meeting with Zeman due to the sad event, and later ordered a state dinner in his honor to be scaled down.
But the Czech leader has been a staunch supporter of Israel in Europe, and there was still enough time for a warm welcome on Monday.
Peres lauded Zeman in particular for his stand on Iran and putting Hizbullah on the European Union terror list, saying he was “among the leaders who convinced Europe to take a clear stand to convince the Iranians that they must depart from threats and terror and enter a world of justice and hope. You did the same with Hizbullah, you convinced Europe that Hizbullah is an organization of terror.”
Zeman added that the Czech Minister of Defense negotiated in New York at the U.N. for the Czech mission in the Golan Heights to substitute [for departing] Austrian troops. … Inside the European Union I have some doubts about the European guidelines against Israel and in my visit in countries within the EU I always repeat that.”