Photo Credit: Amos Ben Gershom / GPO
Slovak Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu congratulated his counterpart from Slovakia on Tuesday on the upcoming opening in Jerusalem of a new information, culture and innovation center.

Netanyahu said that he and Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini have been speaking about automotive production, autonomous cars, and even the possibility of eventually producing flying cars some day.

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“We just spoke about the possibility of enhancing Israel’s capabilities in autonomous transportation and your capabilities which are quite amazing in producing cars. I don’t know if people are aware of the fact that Slovakia per capita produces more cars than any other country in the world,” he noted.

“We spoke about the rapidly evolving technological revolution and how our two countries, that don’t have many natural resources except for the brains and hearts of our people, could cooperate more.

“We spoke about acquainting Israeli companies with the capabilities of Slovakia and we agreed to have a meeting later on this year in Bratislava. It would be the first time that an Israeli prime minister would visit Slovakia. And I look forward to doing it and to celebrate 25 years of our relations, but also to bring a business delegation to enhance this contact,” Netanyahu said.

“There are many, many things that connect us and I have to tell you that we are cooperating in areas of security, defense, intelligence…but in every conceivable area of civilian cooperation, economic growth, the work of productivity, the ability to give a better, richer, safer, healthier life to our citizens. I think there’s much to do and I welcome the fact that we are talking concretely about doing that and I welcome you to Jerusalem.”

Pellegrini thanked Netanyahu for not wasting time in their meeting: “Because we didn’t spend our time with some diplomatic sentences and you know empty worth. We were very concrete and I really appreciate that we were able to speak about the possibility about how to cooperate between Israel and Slovakia.

Slovakia is the world leader in the automotive sector per capita. I’m happy Mr. Prime Minister that Slovakia is also another leader. That means we are only 5.5 million citizens but we have already in this moment more than 600 people which are awarded by Israel because they helped to survive Jewish people during the Second World War. We are over 600 people like that. So we are also per capita the world leader in this issue and we are proud of it Mr. Prime Minister,” Pellegrini said.

The Slovak leader added that cooperation with Israel is particularly important in R&D, because Slovakia would like to “stay a world leader in the automotive sector.”

He also confirmed that the country would open a new cultural, information and innovation center in Jerusalem, “very soon.”

Pellegrini told Netanyahu, “There is really a valid invitation to you Prime Minister to visit Bratislava. Really we are the last country in that area where an Israeli prime minister never was or never visited this country. I believe that in the second half of this year we can organize a really great visit of an Israeli prime minister to Slovakia together with a business delegation and I hope this will strengthen our relationships which are really now on a very good and a very friendly level.”

In response, Netanyahu said he was “delighted with the invitation,” and said he just has to “get reelected.” He also said that he is “absolutely delighted” with Slovakia’s decision to open its cultural and innovation center in Jerusalem, and to send its diplomat to the capital for that purpose – adding, “It is my hope that this will be the first step towards opening a Slovak embassy in Jerusalem but we’ll have time to talk about that.”

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.