Jerusalem (TPS) – Jerusalem’s Mayor Nir Barkat praised the Czech government on Wednesday for reversing a decision last week by its Education Ministry to require the removal of any reference to Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in educational books. Barkat called the decision a victory against Palestinian incitement and lies against Israel.
“Truth has overcome lies,” said Barkat. “Future generations of Czech students will continue to learn the truth: Jerusalem is Israel’s capital and the heart and soul of the Jewish people.”
Last week, the Education Ministry in Prague ordered the Shocart publishing company to erase references to Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, after Palestinian Authority ambassador to the Czech Republic Khaled al-Atrash complained that Shocart school atlases referred to the city as the Jewish state’s capital.
“The atlas says something that is unacceptable not only for the Palestinians but also according to international law and the official position of the European Union, including the Czech Republic,” argued al-Atrash.
Irena Valentova, a spokeswoman for the Czech Foreign Ministry, initially told local media that the country does not consider “east Jerusalem” to be Israeli territory.
“The EU member countries, including the Czech Republic, view Jerusalem as the future capital of both states, i.e. the State of Israel and the future State of Palestine,” Valentova said.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry slammed the short-lived policy, saying the Palestinian Authority is “no longer satisfied with poisoning the minds of Palestinian youth. Now it wants to spread lies and misinformation among Czech youth as well.”
Sunday, Barkat added his voice to the protest, asking Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka to reverse the decision.
“ Just as Prague is the capital of the Czech Republic, so too is Jerusalem the eternal capital of Israel,” Barkat wrote. “Future generations of Czech students deserve nothing less than the truth: Jerusalem’s rightful place as the capital of Israel, and the heart and soul of the Jewish people, cannot and should not, be denied,” Barkat continued.
By Tuesday, Education Minister Valentova had reversed the decision, saying “Jerusalem is Israel’s capital from the viewpoint of the declaration of the country to which this relates, which means Israel.”
“I am pleased that my letter to Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, together with other diplomatic efforts, have positively impacted this decision,” said Barkat on Wednesday. “I’m thankful to the Czech government for making the right choice, and for refusing to surrender to Palestinian incitement and lies.”TPS / Tazpit News Agency