JERUSALEM, ISRAEL– Israel's Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely is visiting European capitals this week to urge leaders there to consider moving their embassies in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Hotovely hopes the trip will create some momentum for European governments to follow the lead of the US and Guatemala. Both nations have scheduled embassy moves in May to coincide with Israel's 70th anniversary celebrations.
The Israeli minister is meeting with Czech leaders in Prague Wednesday after spending Tuesday in Bucharest, Romania, where she met with Foreign Minister Teodor-Viorel Melescanu. "This is an historic window of opportunity following the move of the American Embassy to Jerusalem," Hotovely said during the meeting. "It is time to choose to stand on the right side of history and be one of the pioneer countries to move their embassy to our capital, Jerusalem."
Romania and the Czech Republic are two European nations with the closest ties to Israel, and leaders in both countries expressed interest in a possible move of their embassies. In late December, Israel announced it was in discussions with more than 10 nations about such a move, but there was no comment on which nations were involved. Hungary and the Philippines have received media attention as two other nations considering the possibility.
In Prague, the Lidove' noviny newspaper reported in March that Czech President Milos Zeman wants to accelerate the process of moving the embassy, but the country's foreign ministry is said to oppose the move.
Only six of 28 European Union nations abstained from a UN General Assembly resolution last December rejecting the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. The Czech Republic and Romania were two of the six. Hungary, Poland, Croatia and Bosnia-Hercegovina were the other four.
During her Romania vist, Hotovely also addressed the Iranian threat. According to Israel National News, she said "The fight against Iran's nuclear program and the fight against the terrorism and instability Iran is sowing in the region is the central security fight of the entire world."