- Hans Weber
- December 4, 2023
Czechia ends the repatriation of citizens from Israel
On the morning of Friday, October 13, 2023, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in cooperation with the Ministry of Defence, ended the repatriation of Czech citizens from Israel, which was attacked by the terrorist movement Hamas. 228 people were flown out of the country by government aircraft. The youngest was only a few months old and the oldest passenger was 93 years old. Czech diplomats remain in Israel to assist other individual travellers.
“This was one of the most logistically demanding events. We dispatched six government flights over three days, bringing 228 people to Czechia. At the same time, we provided our capacity from Prague to 73 Israeli citizens who were returning to help their homeland during this difficult time,” summarized Minister of Foreign Affairs Jan Lipavský.
It was the head of Czech diplomacy who took the first 34 people on board the 44-seater government special flight after his visit to Israel. Due to the high interest of Czech citizens in the repatriation, it was decided to provide further assistance in cooperation with the Ministry of Defence, which was arranged by the Czech Army through additional government aircraft. “It was an honour to personally welcome our citizens who returned to Czechia early in the morning at the airport in Kbely. I am glad that together with the Air Force and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs we were able to react quickly and efficiently and organise the repatriation,” said Defence Minister Jana Černochová.
The repatriation operation involved both the Foreign Ministry headquarters and colleagues from the Czech representative offices in Tel Aviv and Ramallah. At the same time, the ministry tightened travel warnings during Wednesday by recommending to avoid all non-essential travel to Israel. It also launched a hotline (+420 222 264 200), which has handled nearly 200 calls and will continue to be operational until today’s evening.
“I want to thank my colleagues for their absolute commitment, thanks to which we have been able to help many people. It was a top achievement of our diplomacy and I am honoured to work with a team of such professionals,” Lipavský said. Although the repatriation has officially ended, our embassy continues to assist Czech citizens who wish to leave the country or are in difficulty. The embassy’s emergency line in Tel Aviv (052-328 6622 ; from the international calling network +972 523 286 622) and the liaison office in Ramallah (+972 296 55 95) remain open until 8 pm on Friday.