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Dispute over Israeli youth trips to Poland nearly resolved: official

05.01.2023 21:00
A disagreement between the Polish and Israeli governments over Jewish educational trips to Poland has been nearly resolved, an official has said.
Young Israelis visit the former Nazi German Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp in southern Poland, Aug. 1, 2019.
Young Israelis visit the former Nazi German Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp in southern Poland, Aug. 1, 2019.Photo: Debbie Hill/UPI Photo via Newscom/PAP

Outgoing Israeli education minister Yifat Shasha-Biton has told her successor that a dispute had been resolved with Poland over the content of Israeli high school Holocaust education trips which saw the visits canceled, the timesofisrael.com​ website has reported.

“The final security issues will be ironed out in the next few days,” Shasha-Biton was cited as saying earlier this week.

Young Jewish Israelis traditionally take summer trips to Poland, including visits to former Nazi-built death camps to study the Holocaust and pay tribute to those murdered.

The trip has long been considered a rite of passage in Israeli education and, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, some 40,000 Israeli students participated each year, timesofisrael.com said.

However, in June last year the tours were halted due to a dispute over their content and security issues. The move reignited long-standing tensions between the two countries over dueling narratives on the Holocaust, The Times of Israel reported.

Now, the diplomatic spat is likely to be resolved soon, according to officials.

“Over recent months we have worked together with the Shin Bet [security service] regarding disputes over content and security on trips to Poland, and we have resolved the content issue,” Shasha-Biton was quoted  as saying.

Poland’s government at the time refused to allow Israeli agents providing security for the trips to carry weapons while on Polish territory, which Warsaw says had been the cause of a series of incidents in previous years.

Now Shasha-Biton said that in the coming days officials hope to solve the security issues as well, so she expects that in the near future "the efforts will bear fruit" and high school groups will again be able to go on trips, timesofisrael.com reported.

It said there was no comment from the Israeli foreign ministry on Shasha-Biton’s announcement or any recent statement from Polish authorities on the matter. 


Source: timesofisrael.com