Prague, May 29 (CTK) – The Czech Republic ceremonially opened its honorary consulate in Jerusalem this afternoon, honorary consul Dan Propper, an Israeli-born businessman of Czech origin, told CTK.
Propper, 87, said he believed he would mainly contribute to bettering the mutual business relations in his new role. He will be able to mediate contacts with significant personalities from the Israeli business sphere, with which he has very good links, but also wanted to support investments in the Czech Republic.
He is a descendant of Czech parents born in Tel Aviv. His parents fled from Czechoslovakia for Israel in 1939, before the outburst of the Wold War Two. He owns a plant producing soy meat substitutes near Teplice in north Bohemia, which is situated close to where his great-grandfather started business early in the 20th century.
PM Andrej Babis (ANO) announced the plan to open an honorary consulate in Jerusalem in April and the Czech diplomacy announced the consul’s name a few days later, during the celebrations of the 70th anniversary of establishment of Israel at the Prague Castle, the presidential seat.
Propper received the official approval as the Czech consul at the Israel’s Foreign Ministry on Monday and it was a year ago when he was presented with the offer.
“My family is strongly connected to the Czech culture, people and the Czech nation,” he said.
The expansion of the Czech diplomatic representation in Israel to the city of Jerusalem became a source of controversy.
One part of the Czech public maintains that the country should move its embassy to Jerusalem. Zeman belongs to the proponents of this view.
The opponents to its move say the solution of the long-standing conflict between Israel and Palestine, which involves a dispute over the status of Jerusalem, should be resolved first.
By the end of 2018, a Czech Centre is to open in Jerusalem. The centre, which is mainly to hold cultural projects, could begin operation during the scheduled visit of Zeman to Israel.
Apart from the embassy and the Czech Centre in Tel Aviv, the country has a honorary consulate general in Haifa.
The Czech foreign ministry always stresses that its steps will be in line with the position of the EU and the UN.
Both organisations have been highlighting the future role of Jerusalem as the capital of both Israel and Palestine.
With regards to the current situation, the majority of states have their representation in Tel Aviv.
During the recent opening of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, Israel’s soldiers intervened against Palestinians protesting in the Gaza Strip. They shot dozens of people and hundreds were injured.