by: Kate Norman
Thursday, 23 March 2023 | Israel and Poland signed an agreement this week that will mend the political crisis between the two nations, as Warsaw agreed to send its ambassador back to the Jewish state after a nearly two-year hiatus and the two agreed to resume Israeli youth trips to Poland.
Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen traveled to Poland this week to meet with his Polish counterpart, Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau, to sign an agreement that will resume the visits of Israeli students to Poland after more than a year’s halt, according to a statement by Israel’s foreign ministry.
This is a continuation of agreements made when Ronen Levy, the director-general of the foreign ministry, visited Poland last Thursday in cooperation with Israel’s education ministry and the Israel Security Agency, according to the foreign ministry.
The youth delegation trips came to a halt after Israel’s foreign ministry accused the Polish government of manipulating the information taught to the Israeli teens during their visit to learn about Holocaust history.
The fact that the Israeli students were accompanied by armed guards also caused a rift, the Jerusalem Post reported.
Cohen said in a statement before departing for Poland that he will meet with his counterpart “and we will officially resume the visits of Israeli youth delegations to Poland and to places where they will be able to learn firsthand about the events that took place there more than 80 years ago. We will work to restore relations between Israel and Poland to full and positive tracks.”
Relations between Jerusalem and Warsaw began to significantly deteriorate in July 2021, when Poland passed a law effectively blocking Jewish descendants from recovering property that was stolen from them during World War II.
Poland has refused to back down on this law, but the two countries nonetheless agreed last year to work on mending their ties. This announcement of the Polish ambassador’s return to Israel as well as the resumption of Israeli youth trips to Poland are the fruit of those efforts.
“We are opening a new page in relations with Poland,” Foreign Minister Cohen said, as quoted by i24NEWS. “The return of the Polish ambassador to Israel, together with the return of the youth delegations to Poland, are important steps to strengthen relations between the countries.”
“Poland is a very significant factor in Europe today and together, we will continue to advance issues of political importance,” Cohen added, “such as the most effective ways to deal with the Iranian threat, whose terrorist metastases are already evident in Europe.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a statement congratulated Poland on its decision to return its ambassador to Israel for the first time since July 2021.
“This decision marks a positive step forward in our diplomatic relations, and I am sure that it will lead to even closer cooperation between our two countries,” Netanyahu said, as quoted by i24news. “I look forward to the continuation of the dialogue and the strengthening of our relations.”
Posted on March 23, 2023
Source: (Bridges for Peace, March 23, 2023)
Photo Credit: Gordon Roemhild/commons.wikimedia.org
Photo License: wikimedia
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