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Claiming that the Polish government is trying to control the Holocaust studies curriculum taught to Israeli children, the Israeli Foreign Ministry has decided to halt educational trips to Poland.

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid made the announcement, reigniting longstanding tensions between the two countries over Poland’s treatment of its Jewish citizens during the Holocaust. Young Israelis traditionally travel to Poland in the summer between 11th and 12th grade to tour former Nazi camps in order to learn about the Holocaust and memorialize those murdered. 

Source: Times of Israel (Yossi Zeliger/Flash90)

Lapid said Poland has barred Israeli delegations from learning about the role of Polish citizens in collaborating with Nazis during the Holocaust.

“They wanted to dictate what was allowed and what wasn’t allowed to be taught to Israeli children who go to Poland and that we cannot agree with,” he told a news conference. Lapid referred to a Polish bill, passed in 2018, that penalizes anyone who blames Poles as a nation for the World War II crimes committed by Nazi Germany in occupied Poland. At the time, Israel and the United States slammed the law, saying it hindered free speech.

In reaction, Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Pawel Jablonski posted on Twitter that “the current formula of organized trips of Israeli youth to Poland requires changes due to systematic problems leading to the strengthening of false stereotypes, which negatively impacts Polish-Israeli relations.” Jablonski also said that Poland doesn’t wish to halt Israeli student trips but, rather, to give them a different formula that will improve Polish-Israeli ties.

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Rhea Sovani

Author Rhea Sovani

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