Poles have ‘tried to hide’ their role in ‘extermination of Jews,’ says Israeli opposition leader while slamming Polish-Israeli agreement over youth Holocaust visits

A group of Israeli youth visit the former Nazi German death camp of Auschwitz ahead of the yearly March of the Living, a Holocaust remembrance march, in Oswiecim, Poland, on April 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)
By Grzegorz Adamczyk
3 Min Read

An Israeli opposition leader has slammed a new agreement between Israel and Poland that would allow Israeli youth visits to resume to Holocaust sites and memorials, claiming that Poles are trying to hide their role in the Holocaust.

The agreement reached by the Netanyahu administration with Poland was panned by a leading Israeli opposition politician, Yair Lapid, who has served as both foreign minister and prime minister in the past. He criticizes the Netanyahu government for being “soft” on the Poles.

“The Poles have persistently tried to hide and deny their participation in the process of the extermination of Jews,” wrote Lapid in a post on social media.

The agreement recently reached by Poland and Israel with regard to the resumption of visits by groups of Israeli school students to various locations related to the Holocaust is being met with scorn from Israel’s opposition.

The deal means that it will be the Poles rather than Israeli armed guards who will supply the security for Israelis. It also means that the Israeli students will get a chance to meet their Polish counterparts and learn something about Polish history and culture. 

Lapid wrote that the Netanyahu government needs to be aware that every Israeli government is responsible for preserving the memory of the Holocaust and for combating anti-Semitism. According to the former Israeli prime minister, the current foreign and education ministers gave in to Polish demands with regard to sending Jewish students to “places where history is falsified and Poles are presented as the main victims,” claims Lapid. 

Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Paweł Jabłoński responded on Twitter, noting that some politicians and media in Israel have attacked the agreement reached between Poland and Israel. He stated that the “agreement is very favorable to Poland and Israel.”

Jabłoński explained that the agreement assures that security is guaranteed by the host country and that this will lead to youths from both countries having the chance to meet.

“Our aim is that young people visiting Poland learn not only about the Holocaust but that they learn about other crimes committed during the Second World War and about the one thousand years of mutual Jewish-Polish history,” posted Jabłoński. According to him, “the agreement is good for both sides as it ‘restores normality’ in the key area of youth contact and exchange.”

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