Havel’s square to be in Haifa, his bench in Tel Aviv
Jerusalem, June 7 (ČTK special correspondent) — A square in Haifa, Israel, will bear the name of the late Czech president Václav Havel (1936—2011) as of the end of June and a Havel bench is to be installed at the university in Tel Aviv, Czech Ambassador to Israel Ivo Schwarz has told the Czech News Agency.
A street in Jerusalem may also bear Havel’s name soon, he added.
The Czech Republic (successor state of former Czechoslovakia) and Israel commemorate the 25th anniversary of the re-establishment of diplomatic relations and the first visit by Havel in his capacity as the first Czechoslovak post-communist president in 1990.
“Part of all those commemorative events is the initiative to name a square or a street after Václav Havel in large Israeli towns,” said Schwarz, adding that mainly Haifa, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv are in question.
The project in Haifa has made the biggest progress and is to be completed soon, he added.
“On June 29, a square in Haifa should be named after Vaclav Havel,” Schwarz noted.
Czech expatriates and possibly also Czech Culture Minister Daniel Herman (Christian Democrats, KDU-ČSL) are to attend the ceremony.
The square, situated in the new Shimon Peres district in Haifa, is about eight times smaller than Wenceslas Square in the center of Prague, Schwarz said .
He said he believed that a street or square in Jerusalem might bear Havel’s name as of the autumn.
Moreover, Havel will be commemorated in Israel by one of “Havel’s Places”, two garden armchairs and a a round table with a tree in the middle. It is to be installed in the university campus in Tel Aviv, probably in September, Schwarz added.
The communist Czechoslovakia interrupted diplomatic relations with Israel in 1967 after the Six-Day War between Israel and Arab countries that were allies of the Soviet Union.
After the fall of the communist regime, Czechoslovakia and later the Czech Republic became one of the strongest allies of Israel in the world.
Havel, playwright, thinker and dissident, was the last Czechoslovak and the first Czech president (1989-2003). After he left the post, he primarily focused on the promotion of human rights in the world. He died at the age of 75 years on December 18, 2011.
A street bearing Havel’s name is in Gdansk, Poland. “Havel’s Places” have been installed in Washington, Dublin, Barcelona, Oxford, Prague and three other Czech towns.