Central Europe and Israel

Many Central European nations enjoy a unique relationship with the State of Israel. For over a century, many Jews have left our region and moved to the historic Jewish homeland, particularly after the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. This creates a living bond. Not only the tragedies of war but the struggle for self-determination binds our region to Israel and Israelis.

Special relationship

Many nations in Central Europe today have a special understanding of the nuances and complexities Israel is facing while fighting for the recognition of its sovereignty. Outstanding friendships have been created and AJC Central Europe is working tirelessly to strengthen these ties. Our nations not only share past experiences, but Israel is a great partner in innovation, research, defence technology, and economic cooperation. During the Coronavirus pandemic, Central European nations were ready to cooperate with Israeli scientists to bring technological and medical know-how to their countries.

Standing up for Israel

“We have always supported Israel’s right to self-defense and believe that peace in the region can only result from talks based on mutual respect,”

– Péter Szijjártó, Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade

AJC advocates for Israel at the highest levels. When Israel is under attack, whether from terrorist organizations on her doorstep or biased international organizations, AJC helps bring the world the truth about Israel. Many nations are fierce supporters of the Jewish state in international fora, standing up for Israel’s right to be judged by the same standards as any other democracy. Hungary and Czechia, for example, consistently support Israel when voting on biased resolutions in the United Nations, the European Union, or the International Court of Justice. AJC initiatives like our Transatlantic UN Declaration, calling to end the UN’s institutional bias against Israel, always get outstanding support from legislators in Central Europe. AJC has applauded Czechia, Latvia, and Lithuania for taking legislative steps to ban the dangerous activities of the Iranian-backed terrorist organization Hezbollah that has sworn to destroy Israel. Despite international resistance, Budapest, Prague, and Bratislava recognized Jerusalem’s Jewish heritage by opening diplomatic missions and a cultural center in the city.

Learn more about AJC’s position on:

Israel and the peace process Iran Hezbollah

Bringing Israel Closer

AJC considers it particularly important for decision-makers and opinion leaders to be offered an opportunity to get to know Israel first-hand. To that end, AJC’s Project Interchange (PI) organizes study visits during which participants meet with top Israeli elected officials, government representatives, think-tank experts, and journalists. Just as important, PI participants also speak with Palestinian leaders and activists in the West Bank, Israeli Arabs, and members of other religious communities. In 2019 and 2020, AJC Central Europe organized two PI trips for journalists and international affairs experts from all seven countries where we work.

Project Interchange delegations in Israel in 2019 and 2020

Economic Cooperation

Sharing innovation, science, and research, as well as cultural exchange and travel are all signs of friendship between nations. Central Europe is fertile ground for cooperation with Israel in defence, medical research, and entrepreneurship. As tourism from Israel to Slovakia, Hungary, or Poland reaches new highs, several bilateral programmes have also been launched. In early 2021, Slovakia signed an agreement with Israel’s Ministry of Defense to purchase radar systems worth €150 million.

AJC supports Israel’s increasingly important role in the Central European defense architecture that complements NATO presence in the region. As a global leader in combatting the coronavirus, Israel has been of great help to countries in Central Europe. Heads of states and parliamentarians frequently visit Israel to learn about vaccination efforts and measures to counter the pandemic.