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Ministry of Foreign Affairs: a preliminary agreement was reached with Israel regarding visits by youth groups

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The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that a “preliminary agreement” had been reached on an agreement between the governments of Poland and Israel on cooperation in the field of study visits of organized youth groups.

“On March 16, 2023, negotiations took place in Warsaw for an agreement between the Government of the Republic of Poland and the Government of the State of Israel on cooperation in the field of study visits of organized youth groups. A preliminary agreement was reached on this matter,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on Twitter on Thursday.

Polish-Israeli talks on youth travel

At the beginning of March, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs informed that during talks conducted through diplomatic channels there was a rapprochement of positions, giving hope that in the near future a comprehensive agreement could be signed between Poland and Israel regulating the travel of organized groups of Israeli youth to Poland.

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As the Ministry of Foreign Affairs underlined at that time, Poland invariably maintains its readiness to accept and host Israeli citizens in our country, both traveling individually and as part of organized groups, based on the agreements existing between our countries concerning, inter alia, visa-free travel. We are in favor of promoting people-to-people contacts between Poles and Israelis, especially with regard to the young generation.

In mid-June 2022, the Israeli Ministry of Education announced the cancellation of educational trips to Poland for high school students. The Ministry justified its decision on the grounds that problems had arisen which prevented students from being properly and safely informed while traveling. The spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Łukasz Jasina, said that a return to the previous rules, including trips by Jewish youth with the participation of armed Israeli services, was not possible.

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Israeli youth traditionally came to Poland in the summer to visit the former German Nazi camps in order to learn about the Holocaust and to honor the memory of those murdered. This trip has long been considered a milestone in Israeli education, and before the outbreak of the pandemic, approximately 40,000 Israeli students took part in it every year.

The Israeli ambassador to Poland, Yakov Liwne, referring to the cancellation of students’ trips from Israel to Poland, said in mid-June last year that “work is underway to achieve a common, good, acceptable goal.” “I think we will resolve this crisis soon,” he stressed.

Main photo source: Miroslaw Trembecki/PAP

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