Home > Diplomacy, Hasbara > The new frontiers of Israeli diplomacy, ctd.: Czech Foreign Minister “humiliated”

The new frontiers of Israeli diplomacy, ctd.: Czech Foreign Minister “humiliated”

The Czechs are furious: Diplomatic humiliation

Itamar Eichner, Yediot, May 18 2010 [Hebrew original here and at bottom of post]

Israel is embarrassed: This week the Czech Republic made an official protest of what it calls the humiliation of its foreign minister Jan Kohout at Ben Gurion airport.

The incident occurred May 6 when the minister left Israel after an official visit to Israel and the PA. Kohout, a confirmed friend of Israel, entered the Masada lounge at Ben-Gurion Airport where he was detained for half an hour with his entourage. According to the report by the Israeli ambassador in Prague Yaacov Levy, the border police officer examined the 44 passports of the delegation, and contrary to diplomatic etiquette addressed the minister by his first name.

“Then she discovered that there was no entry stamp into Israel on Kohout’s passport,” said Levy. “As a result, quite a nasty verbal altercation ensued between her and the Czech head of the Middle East desk about whether they could leave Israel anyway.”

And this was not the end of the diplomatic incident: Kohout’s Czech bodyguard had to explain why he went to Egypt in the past and claimed he had accompanied the minister. Then all of the members of the delegation underwent detailed questioning, and the gifts they brought with them from the PA — including a picture from Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad to the Czech minister — went through metal detectors.

“At this point somebody from the security authorities tried to explain in flowery language the dangers of receiving gifts from our neighbors,” Levy wrote in his report. The long process made the members of the entourage nervous and tense and in the words of the ambassador, “they voiced heartfelt compliments for the Israeli bureaucracy.”

Deputy Commander Shlomi Saguy, spokesman of the police central district, said last night in response: “The Czech Foreign Minister receives special status at the request of the Foreign Ministry. During his exit from Israel it emerged that he did not have an entry stamp into Israel. After an inquiry with the shift head, permission was given for his exit without delay.” Police sources claimed the Foreign Ministry was responsible for the mishap, because it did not make sure to register the entry into Israel.

Categories: Diplomacy, Hasbara
  1. Max Rambow
    May 21, 2010 at 04:21

    Aw the poor elites. By all means lets not subject them to the same scrutiny they put the rest of us thru.

  2. Shoded Yam
    May 21, 2010 at 21:37

    The last I heard, the Czech Republic was an ally and a friend, a set of circumstances that has become increasing rare of late. That being said, letting some nitwit at the airport excercise his own judgement as to how a foreign dignitary is to be treated, would seem to be ill advised.

  3. Elisabeth
    May 22, 2010 at 00:32

    Because the former Soviet Union was anti-Israel, many people in the now independant East European states are blindly pro-Israel. Trust the present Israeli government to make the best of that feeling!

  4. ERIK
    May 26, 2010 at 14:09

    Minister Jan Kohout was friend of Israel.

  5. paul
    July 24, 2010 at 17:40

    I was there. We have waited there for some hours. But it is common in “just democratic state” of Middle East. Personal of Ben Gurion´s airport – and uniforms generally – are extremely unpleasant, ulmost hostile anywhere in Israel. Thank God for common people: they are great.
    To Elisabeth: it is true. Why not? But uniforms of Israel do everything to change it…

  1. May 20, 2010 at 23:44
  2. May 22, 2010 at 08:38
  3. May 22, 2010 at 09:56
  4. May 22, 2010 at 10:22
  5. May 24, 2010 at 00:19

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