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The head of the Israeli MFA: the appointment of the Polish ambassador to Israel will allow for the resumption of the necessary diplomatic work

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At a joint press conference with the head of Israeli diplomacy Eli Cohen, the head of the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs Zbigniew Rau announced on Wednesday an agreement with Israel regarding the organization of trips by Israeli youth to Poland and Polish youth to Israel. The head of Israeli diplomacy also stated that the appointment of the Polish ambassador to Israel “will allow the resumption of the necessary diplomatic work.”

agreement with Israel organizes and optimizes the rules for organizing Israeli educational visits to Poland, and also guarantees the Polish side the possibility of organizing educational visits to Israel on the same terms, said the head of the MFA in Warsaw Zbigniew Rau.

– We note with satisfaction that the Israeli side referred to our position with understanding and adopted the Polish position – said Rau.

Eli Cohen and Zbigniew RauPAP/Marcin Obara

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He added that in the course of almost a year of negotiations, led by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and attended by the ministries of education, science managed to reach an agreement on several issues. “First of all, we have adopted equal rights for the parties and reciprocity of benefits as the guiding principle,” said the chief of Polish diplomacy.

– Thus, the agreement organizes and optimizes the previously dispersed rules for organizing Israeli educational visits to Poland, and also guarantees the Polish side the possibility of organizing Polish educational visits to Israel on the same terms – announced Rau.

The agreement also provides – Rau pointed out – that an important element of the program of mutual visits of young people will be meetings of peers from Poland and Israel. “Joint meetings are the best antidote to hurtful and untrue associations,” said Rau.

Rau: visits will not only cover places related to the Holocaust

The agreement also states, he said, that the programs of visits by young Israelis will not only include visits to memorial sites related to the history of the Holocaust. – Poland cherishes the memory of World War II, maintains and protects the places of remembrance of the Holocaust of Jews, which, unfortunately, was mostly committed on our soil as a result of the German policy of extermination – he noted. At the same time, he pointed out, the program of Israeli educational visits will include teaching about the history of Poland, “almost a thousand years of Polish Jews’ heritage and equally long Polish-Jewish relations, which in the millennium dimension were usually of a harmonious nature.”

– Fourthly, we agreed that the responsibility of ensuring the safety of groups of Israeli youth in Poland or Polish youth in Israel will rest with the host country. This principle is worth emphasizing because of the controversy caused in the past by the issue of the presence of armed Israeli officers during visits to Poland, said the minister.

Eli Cohen and Zbigniew RauPAP/Marcin Obara

He noted that during the talks, the Polish side indicated that Poland is a safe country, both for Israelis, Jews and other foreigners, “therefore, during standard situations, there is no need to use enhanced coordination with the Israeli side in terms of security.” He stressed that the Israeli side shared this position.

– Poland maintains its readiness to almost immediately receive organized groups of Israeli youth according to the standard set by Polish law and the new agreement. We expect a similar openness from the Israeli side to visits by Polish youth in Israel, said the chief of Polish diplomacy.

Rau: the agreement closes a certain stage

“The agreement closes a certain stage far from the optimal state, a certain stage in bilateral relations and opens up prospects for balanced, equal and reciprocal relations,” stressed the chief of Polish diplomacy.

In mid-June last year, 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.

As he communicated Polish MFA, it is not possible to return to the previous rules of trips for Jewish youth with the participation of armed Israeli services. Last week, the Ministry of Diplomacy announced that as part of negotiations between the Polish and Israeli governments, a preliminary agreement was reached on a cooperation agreement regarding study visits by organized youth groups.

Cohen: This is an important moment in relations between the two countries and nations

The chief of Israeli diplomacy stressed that this is an important moment in relations between the two countries and nations. “This moment is part of history,” he said.

He expressed his satisfaction with the signing of the agreement, which will allow the immediate resumption of Israeli youth trips to Poland. – It’s not just about youth delegations, but about dialogue about our history – said Cohen and expressed hope that Polish youth will come to Israel.

– Young people are our future, and knowledge of the past is the key to the future – he said.

The head of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that for a thousand years Poles and Jews lived next to each other, worked and created. He pointed out that there were also periods when a large part of the Jewish diaspora lived in Poland.

Eli Cohen and Zbigniew RauPAP/Marcin Obara

– Jews and Poles together have created great things for Jews, for Poles and for the world’s heritage: writers, scientists, Nobel Prize winners, great composers, musicians – he enumerated. He added that four prime ministers of Israel were born and lived in Poland.

As he said, it is impossible to describe the history of Judaism without a Polish chapter, and it is impossible to describe contemporary Poland without a Jewish past. “Besides that, there is also great pain, one of the greatest in our history, that is, the Holocaust and World War II, Nazi German attempts to annihilate six million Jews,” he added.

– No more anti-Semitism, no more discrimination against other people, no more desire to annihilate the Jews of the world. We must remember what hatred, racism and anti-Semitism can lead to, added Cohen.

Cohen: I came here to renew relations between our countries

– I came here to renew relations between our countries – declared Eli Cohen at a joint conference with the head of the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “I hope that the Polish ambassador to Israel will return,” he said. – The appointment of the Polish ambassador to Israel will allow the resumption of diplomatic work, which is needed in the light of the challenges that lie ahead – he added.

Cohen stressed that cooperation between countries should continue in social and economic forums. – After the youth delegation agreement, we will cooperate and work to increase investment and economic relations – he said.

Minister Cohen spoke about Polish-Israeli history. He recalled that his country supported “Solidarity” and “the aspirations of Poles for freedom during the communist regime.” He also emphasized the importance of excellent relations between the two countries after 1989.

– I am convinced that even today Poland and Israel can and should create excellent relations, and my goal is even to strengthen these relations even more. We can do it by cooperating with each other, with our many friends in Poland, said the chief of Israeli diplomacy.

The head of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs also expressed his hope that he would soon be able to host Zbigniew Rau in his country.

Main photo source: PAP/Marcin Obara



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