Czech Republic Offers Israeli Businessman Honorary Post in Jerusalem Instead of Moving Embassy There

Offer to appoint Dan Propper as the honorary counsel is seen as a compromise in the wake of Israeli pressure to get the Czechs to follow the U.S. lead

Dan Propper
\ Ilan Assayag

The Czech government recently proposed that instead of moving its embassy to Jerusalem it would appoint an Israeli businessman of Czech extraction to the post of honorary counsel in Jerusalem.

The offer to appoint Dan Propper, chairman of Osem Food Industries, to the honorary counsel post comes in the wake of pressure by Israel to get the Czech Republic to follow the U.S. example and move its Israeli embassy to Jerusalem.

Last December Czech President Milo Zeman said that he “would consider relocating our embassy. Sooner or later we will join the U.S. Every nation has the right to decide what it’s capital is.”

However, earlier this month Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babi said that his country would not break UN and EU policy and relocate its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

The proposal to appoint an Czech honorary counsel to Israel, who would sit in Jerusalem, is seen as a compromise.

Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dăncilă meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday in Jerusalem.
Haim Zach/GPOr

Propper confirmed that he had received such an offerl and is waiting for it to go through the official appointment process. Propper does not live in Jerusalem, but in Kfar Shmaryahu, a neighborhood north of Tel Aviv. He does not intend to move to Jerusalem in order to fill the post.

Czech Republic's Prime Minister Andrej Babis addresses lawmakers during a Parliament session in Prague, Czech Republic.
Petr David Josek/AP

The Czech Republic already had an honorary counsel, stationed in Jeruslaem – journalist Tatiana Hoffman of Israel’s Channel 2. Since her death, the post has been empty.

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely left for the Czech Republic on Wednesday in an attempt to convince the government there to relocate the embassy to Jeruasalem.

The Czech president is slated to speak at an event marking Israel's 70th anniversary on Wednesday night.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dancila in the PMO's office in Jerusalem on Wednesday.

Following the meeting, Prime Minister Netanyahu expressed his appreciation to the government of Romania for its support of a draft resolution that would advance steps to move Romania's Israeli embassy to Jerusalem, and in particular his appreciation for supoprt of the move expressed by the speaker of Romania's parliament. 

Earlier this month, the speaker stated in an interview to the Romanian media  that the country intends to move its embassy. The Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem is awaiting official updates from Bucharest.

In addition, Romanian Prime Minister Dancila submitted a draft resolution to the cabinet this month that would move the Romanian embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The proposal now depends on the approval of ministers.

However, the country's president, Klaus Iohannis, said he is opposed to the government's plan to move the embassy. Iohannis said the prime minister had not consulted him and that such a move could only occur at the end of a regional peace process.