Photo by Amos Ben Gershom, GPO
the Governments of the Czech Republic and the State of Israel held the 4th Intergovernmental Consultations chaired by the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic Mr. Bohuslav Sobotka and the Prime Minister of the State of Israel Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu.
Prime Minister Netanyahu, in Jerusalem, issued the following statement at the G2G meeting with the Czech Republic:
"Prime Minister Sobotka and your delegation, welcome to Israel yet again. This is our fourth G2G meeting between Israel and Czechia. You’ve always been Czechia for us, and congratulations on your renewal.
We have a great affection for your country, for your people. We remember our friends. I said to you a few minutes earlier that we have a kibbutz in Israel named after Tomáš Masaryk; we have major roads and streets in Israel named after Tomáš Masaryk; I understand we even have a coffee shop named after Tomáš Masaryk. We remember our friends. Tomáš Masaryk came here in the ’20s, before there was a State of Israel, to see our community there, the Yishuv, and we remember the assistance given to us by the people of Czechia in our War of Independence when we were really with our backs against the wall, our backs to the sea. We don’t forget it.
I’m delighted with the renewal of this friendship in concrete ways in our meetings today. We’ve just signed a series of agreements and we’re advancing these subjects of technology, science, tourism, cyber and innovation. We had a meeting just now of businesspeople from both our countries, companies that are now cooperating with each other. I think there are vast opportunities. The world is changing very rapidly. Everything we see around us is being technologized. Billions and billions of things will be connected to the internet and we’ll have to go forward or go backward.
We’re going forward; you’re going forward. Together I think we can go a lot further and we can innovate. The future belongs to those who innovate. Israel is the innovation nation. I think your country is similarly inclined. We can do more together, and we’ll do – we are doing a lot more together.
The question of protecting this new world, this rapidly changing new world, is one of our great challenges, but also one of our great opportunities. You have sent a cyber attaché to your embassy here in Israel. I think, if I can say, this is a very wise decision and as you know, we are cooperating in this field, both G2G, but also companies to companies. And we welcome more of that. Cybersecurity will be a paramount issue, not in the future but right now. It’s already an enormously important field, and we welcome that cooperation.
I want to thank you, Prime Minister, for the support and the fairness of the Czech position in international forums. Israel is often portrayed as not wanting peace. Nothing could be further from the truth. We pursue peace; we’re going to continue to pursuing peace with an expanded government, including various initiatives and possibilities within our region. I am committed to this and my government will pursue this in every senior level, and I want to assure you that we’ll be happy to take up any suggestions and any help that you can give us in this common pursuit for peace.
So on the occasion of your arrival here this year in Jerusalem, I want to take up your offer and say: Next year in Prague. Welcome to Jerusalem."
The 4th Intergovernmental consultations reflected the strong basis of the longstanding cooperation and mutual interest in further deepening the Strategic Partnership between both countries. Both Governments affirm their emphasis on strengthening the key areas of cooperation and appraise the outstanding level of bilateral ties based on bonds of friendship and trust. Both sides appreciate the level and intensity of bilateral dialogue conducted on regular basis and at the highest possible level.
Both sides also appreciate the rising trend of cooperation in new areas, such as cyber security, science, technology and innovation. The Governments emphasize their ambition to further support upgrading the existing cooperation and stress their aspiration to expand joint cooperation in new areas.
The following Government members took part in the consultations:
On the Czech side:
Prime Minister, H.E. Mr. Bohuslav Sobotka; Minister of Industry and Trade, Mr. Jan Mládek; Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, Mrs. Michaela Marksová; Minister of Health, Mr. Svatopluk Němeček; Minister of Education, Youth and Sports, Mrs. Kateřina Valachová; Minister of Regional Development, Mrs. Karla Šlechtová; Minister of the Environment, Mr. Richard Brabec; Minister of Culture, Mr. Daniel Herman; Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Martin Tlapa; Director of the National Security Authority, Mr. Dušan Navrátil
On the Israeli side:
Prime Minister, H.E. Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu; Minister of national infrastructure Energy and Water, Mr. Yuval Steinitz; Minister of Welfare and Social Services, Mr. Haim Katz; Minister of Culture and Sport, Mrs. Miri Regev; Minister of Science, Technology and Space, Mr. Ofir Akunis; Minister of Tourism, Mr. Yariv Levin; Minister of Environmental Protection, Mr. Avi Gabbay; Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Director General), Dr. Dore Gold; Ministry of Economy (Director General), Mr. Amit Lang; Ministry of Health (Director General), Mr. Moshe Bar Siman Tov; National Cyber Defense Authority, Mr. Buki Carmeli
Prior to the G2G meeting, Prime Minister Netanyahu and Czech Prime Minister Sobotka attended the closing session of the Israeli-Czech Business Conference. Senior businesspeople from both countries were in attendance. Following is an excerpt from Prime Minister Netanyahu’s remarks:
"Thank you. Prime Minister Sobotka, welcome to you, your colleagues in the government, and all of you here in this business conference.
The world is changing at an unbelievable pace. You don’t adapt, you’ll slide back. You fall. We intend to be at the forefront. You intend to be at the forefront. We have the capacities to do it. We have the capacities to do it because we have science, we have technology, we have – you have industry, great industry, and I have to say much more than we ever had. But these are disciplines that can be harnessed for seizing not merely the future, but the present, because the present is right here, right now.
Not many countries have what we have, and we can go a lot further if we go on many of these things together. Of course, everything that is becoming digitized is also becoming vulnerable. And so one area, in addition to the many others in biology, in medicine, in automotive, the automotive field, in the field of data – data is everywhere – the one thing that we have to recognize is as everything is being digitized, everything is vulnerable.
And cybersecurity is one prime mission of our government, not merely the companies that are here, hundreds of them, but of the government and I’ve spoken to Prime Minister Sobotka about cooperating on a G2G basis in the field of cybersecurity, but I think it presents vast opportunities also in the private sector. We encourage both, and I think it wraps around everything that we talked about. Everything that we talked about will have to have this envelope.
And let me tell you: This is an endless business. You know why? There’ll never be a solution. It’ll always be a cutting-edge industry and we have to be at the cutting-edge of this and so many other areas that I didn’t mention, but I’m sure are represented in this room, and many that are not but are out there, waiting for us.
We are very happy to see you. We want to do business with you and we have a future to seize right now.
Thank you very much, and welcome to Israel."