JERUSALEM (JTA) — After the United States recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and moved toward relocating its embassy there, Israel said it expects other countries to follow suit.
Speaking at Israel’s Foreign Ministry Thursday, a day after the historic shift in U.S. policy, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he was in contact with countries interested in such actions.
“We are holding contacts with other countries who will also recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. I have no doubt than when the U.S. Embassy will move there, and even before that, many embassies will relocate to Jerusalem, he said Thursday at a diplomatic conference at the Foreign Ministry. “It’s about time.”
Speaking on condition of anonymity, Israeli officials said Thursday that they expect Czech President Milos Zeman to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital later in the day. The officials said both the Czech Republic and the Philippines were eager to move their embassies to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.
On Wednesday, the Czech Republic’s Foreign Ministry said it considers Jerusalem to be “in fact the capital of Israel in the borders of the demarcation line from 1967,” meaning only the city’s west. But it said it would not move the embassy prior to a negotiated Israeli-Palestinian deal. Although the Czech parliament already recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital earlier this year, the embassy of the Central European nation has remained in the Tel Aviv area.
Also Wednesday, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte sent a message to Israel that he wanted to move his country’s embassy to Jerusalem, Israel’s Kan public broadcaster reported.
Jerusalem reportedly anticipates that Hungary may move its embassy to Jerusalem as well. According to The Times of Israel, citing unnamed European sources, Budapest blocked a joint European Union statement that would have opposed the historic change in the U.S. position.