Foreign Minister Kovač Visiting Israel

By 29 May 2016

Croatian Foreign Minister Miro Kovač to arrive in an official visit to Israel.

Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Miro Kovač will arrive in Israel on Sunday for talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is also the Foreign Minister. Kovač will also give a lecture and visit Yad Vashem, a memorial to the victims of the Holocaust, reports Jutarnji List on May 29, 2016.

On Monday, Kovač will meet with representatives of the Jewish Council and the World Jewish Congress and will hold talks with Prime Minister Netanyahu. Croatia and Israel established diplomatic relations in September 1997. Since then, numerous Croatian high-ranking government officials have visited Israel, including President Stjepan Mesić in 2001, President Ivo Josipović in 2012 and President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović in 2015.

In addition to the meetings, Minister Kovač will also visit Yad Vashem, founded in 1953 in memory of the victims of the Holocaust and all those who, risking their own lives, decided to help Jews and save them from genocide. The names of those who saved Jews during the Holocaust have been carved into the walls of the memorial, and the list includes 113 Croats.

During her visit last year, President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović expressed “deep regret” for all the victims who were killed in the Holocaust in Croatia during the Ustasha regime of the Independent State of Croatia. She also called on Yad Vashem to cooperate “so that we could pay respects to victims of all totalitarian regimes”.

The Jewish Community in Zagreb believes that victims of racial laws and totalitarian systems should not be equated and criticized Croatian authorities for their tolerance towards attempts to rewrite history. It noted that this was one of the reasons why the Jews in Croatia this year held their own separate memorial service for victims of the Jasenovac camp. These events have been monitored in Europe and in Israel and it is possible that the hosts will mention this issue during their meetings with Croatian Foreign Minister.