Daniel Meron: Every country is entitled to have a capital

How is the Trump’s official statement that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel affect Israeli-Palestinian relations?

I hope it doesn’t affect because it shouldn’t. Every country is entitled to have a capital, and the capital of Israel is Jerusalem and has been the center of Jewish life for 3000 years. And now it´s has been the capital of Israel for seventy years thus it is the time that the world recognizes it. This should not mean that the Palestine entity should not have its center, but they have to decide where that is. Jerusalem is and will be the capital of Israel its just a question of recognition. We will continue to maintain Jerusalem as an open city for three monotheistic religions, everyone can worship where they want, but from a political point of view, Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.

I want to know your opinion of the Czech statement about accepting West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Well, the Czech Republic has always been in the front line of countries that have always supported Israel and its considered that’s is one of the friendliest countries to Israel in all Europe. And we appreciate any support for the statement of president Trump and any recognition that Jerusalem is the Capital of Israel.

A couple of days back I heard that the Middle East is one big powder keg, and do you believe that this statement could set it all up?

I would like to separate my answer in two. First of all Israel was accused of being the center of all the tensions and conflict in the middle east, however, in the last few years, this has been proven false. We can see what is happening in Syria, in Iraq, in Yemen, Libya. Nothing to do with Israel. The Muslims are killing each other, the Sunnis, Shia, Daesh, Al Qaida. This is, first of all, prove that Israel isn’t the center of all the conflict in the Middle East. To say that the middle east would blow up because of Jerusalem is non-sense. It may be an excuse for violence. The violence that should be under control. And we are ready for negotiations about the future relations between Israel and Palestinians but they need to recognize the state of Israel, and the capital of Israel is Jerusalem.

Why do you believe that the Czech foreign policy is so friendly to Israel? From a bigger picture?

The Czech attitude towards Israel and the Zionist dream of having a Jewish homeland in Israel has historical roots. It began with Tomas G. Masaryk who was a great friend of the Jews and the Jewish State existing in the land Israel. It continued with his son Jan Masaryk, and it continued after the Velvet revolution with the leadership afterward. The most dramatic was Vaclav Havel. The Czech Republic realizes the idea that there should be a Jewish state and a one that can defend itself and stand against its neighbors. Maybe it has to do with your own fight for independence and other countries that tried to take over. Also, I think that historically, there was a close relationship with the Jewish community and the Czechs. Jewish life was very comfortable here for many years in the 20th century. And people also remember the horrors of the Shoah.

When we are on the topic of Shoah, is Nicolas Winton known in Israel?

The story of Nicolas Winton is one of many stories of Righteous Among the Nations. People who stood up at a time when others didn’t stand up and did something to save Jews. Although Winton initially comes from a Jewish family himself, however, he grew up as a non-Jew. And he had this feeling to save people. The Story of Winton is genuinely magnificent.