English Section

Polish deputy FM, Israeli ambassador discuss youth trips

19.10.2022 23:30
A Polish deputy foreign minister met with the Israeli ambassador in Warsaw on Wednesday to discuss the prospects for resuming educational trips by Israeli youngsters to Poland, officials told reporters. 
Polish Foreign Ministry HQ in Warsaw.
Polish Foreign Ministry HQ in Warsaw.Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The Israeli envoy, Jacov Livne, was summoned by the Polish foreign ministry after his remarks last week about such educational trips, public broadcaster Polish Radio’s IAR news agency reported.

During the meeting, Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Paweł Jabłoński told Livne that his remarks last week “weren’t entirely appropriate,” a spokesman for Poland’s foreign ministry told reporters.

Paweł Jabłoński. Paweł Jabłoński.

'This matter needs to be solved'

At a ceremony to mark 79 years since the outbreak of a prisoner revolt in the Nazi German death camp of Sobibor, in eastern Poland, Livne said last week that “groups coming to Poland from Israel used to visit Sobibor.”

He added, as cited by Polish state news agency PAP: “Unfortunately it is impossible today, due to decisions that have been taken by the Polish foreign ministry."

Livne went on to say that “people both in Israel and in other countries” were finding the decisions “difficult to understand.” He added: “And so this matter needs to be solved.”  

'Israeli youths should not be accompanied by armed guards'

After the talks between Jabłoński and Livne, the spokesman for Poland’s foreign ministry, Łukasz Jasina, said that the Israeli ambassador was told that his remarks last week “weren’t entirely appropriate” and that “in diplomatic relations it is vital that communication between the ambassador and the foreign ministry takes place in a real way, and not through mass media,” the PAP news agency reported.

Jasina added that Poland was willing to host groups of Israeli youth, but without armed security guards, according to the IAR news agency.

Jasina told a news briefing: “It was communicated again to Mr. Ambassador that, without any pre-conditions, if Israel agrees that visits by Israeli youths should not be accompanied by armed guards who violate our sovereignty and dignity, these tours can return at any time.

Meanwhile, the Israeli envoy and embassy declined to comment on the matter, according to IAR. 

Israel halts student trips to Poland

In mid-June, Israel said it was cancelling educational trips by its high school students to Poland, adding that “problems have emerged that make it impossible to provide information to students in an appropriate and safe way during their travel,” the IAR news agency reported.

Poland’s Jasina said at the time that "a return to the situation so far, with the visiting Israeli youngsters being accompanied by their country’s armed officials, is not possible.”

Livne stated that “work is ongoing to reach a shared, good, acceptable goal,” adding: “I believe we will solve this crisis soon.”

Israeli youth visits

Israeli youngsters have traditionally come to Poland in the summer to visit former World War II-era Nazi German concentration and death camps, learn about the Holocaust and commemorate the memory of the victims. 

Such trips have long been regarded as a milestone in Israeli education; before the COVID-19 pandemic, some 40,000 Israeli students had visited Poland each year, the IAR news agency reported.   


Source: IAR, PAP, wnp.pl