Israel, Poland restore relations a year after Holocaust property spat

Jerusalem and Warsaw to restore ambassadors. 

By World Israel News Staff

Israel and Poland have agreed to restore relations, including their respective ambassadorial posts, a year after ties were downgraded.

Ties between the two countries took a hit following Poland’s passage of a controversial law preventing Jews from regaining property seized by the Nazis in the Holocaust.

Then-Foreign Minister Yair Lapid slammed the Polish bill as “anti-Semitic and immoral,” and prompted him to recall Israel’s charge d’affaires home for “an indefinite period of time.” He also told Poland’s ambassador to Israel not to bother returning to his post after vacationing in his home country.

However, Monday’s turn of events saw Polish President Andrzej Duda telling Israeli President Isaac Herzog in a phone call that his country’s ambassador-designate would present his letters of credentials in the coming days.

“It was agreed that relations would be restored to their proper course,” a statement issued by Herzog’s office said.

“Both presidents expressed their hope that any future issues between Poland and Israel will be solved through sincere and open dialogue and in a spirit of mutual respect,” it added.

However, it’s not all smooth sailing between the two nations. Israel last month said it was cancelling upcoming Holocaust trips for schoolchildren over Warsaw’s insistence that it regulate the visits, in a bid to control what it perceives as the “negative image” given of Poland.

The content of the educational trips has been a point of contention for the eastern European country, after its nationalist government passed a law criminalizing charges of Polish collusion with the Nazis during the Holocaust.

According to Hebrew media reports, the Polish government has also barred Shin Bet security guards accompanying the students from carrying weapons.