Milos Zeman and Benjamin Netanyahu Photo GPO 2
Milos Zeman and Benjamin Netanyahu (Photo:GPO)

The leaders of the Czech Republic expressed their support for the transfer of their embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, as the United States and Guatemala did last year.

In a joint statement, the prime minister, the speaker of parliament and the foreign and defense ministers said the opening of the “Czech House” in November in the holy city will be the “first step” in the plan to move the Czech embassy to Jerusalem.

President Milos Zeman’s spokesman, Jiri Ovcacek, said the Czech House will house government institutions, including a Foreign Ministry office, the Czech trade agency, and the Czech tourist office.

The Czech House in Jerusalem will be inaugurated in an official ceremony presided over by President Zeman during his visit to Israel in November, the spokesman said.

Zeman, 73, is a veteran leftist politician known for his strong pro-Israeli stances, and has been advocating the relocation of his country’s embassy long before U.S. President Donald Trump moved his embassy to Jerusalem on May 14.

As president, Zeman has limited executive powers. Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis, who controls the Foreign Ministry, has previously opposed the transfer of his country’s embassy to Jerusalem, citing EU policies.

But it seems now like they are both in agreement.

Last May, the Czech Republic reopened its honorary consulate in Jerusalem after the closure in 2016, due to the death of its honorary consul.

The embassy of the Czech Republic has been in Tel Aviv since 1949, except during the interruption of diplomatic relations when the communist regime was under Prague between 1967 and 1990.