Israel nixes Poland trip following 'Jewish perpetrators' claim

After Polish PM claims 'Jewish perpetrators' also responsible for Holocaust, Israel cancels planned trips for National Service volunteers.

Nitsan Keidar,

Jewish students visit site of Auschwitz death camp in Poland
Jewish students visit site of Auschwitz death camp in Poland
Yossi Zeliger/Flash 90

Israel has nixed plans to send National Service volunteers to visit Poland, following recent claims by the Polish Prime Minister that there were “Jewish perpetrators” in the Holocaust.

On Saturday, Poland’s Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, told journalists at the Munich Security Conference that a recently-passed law banning the phrase” Polish death camp” or reference to Polish complicity in the Holocaust would not impact the condemnation of individual “perpetrators” of the Holocaust who happened to be Polish.

During his comments, Morawiecki added that while there were some “Polish perpetrators”, there were also “Jewish perpetrators” responsible for the Holocaust.

“[T]here were Polish perpetrators, as there were Jewish perpetrators, as there were Russian perpetrators, as there were Ukraine and German perpetrators."

Israeli leaders slammed the Polish premier’s comments, with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu calling them “outrageous”.

"The Polish Prime Minister's words here in Munich are outrageous. There's a huge problem of a lack of understanding of history, and a lack of sensitivity to our nation's tragedy. I intend to speak to him as soon as possible."

In the wake of Morawiecki’s comments, Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel (Jewish Home) nixed plans to send a group of National Service volunteers to Poland – the first sanction by Israel against Poland since the controversial Holocaust law was signed into law earlier this month.

Israel’s civilian National Service program serves as an alternative to enlistment in the military, allowing recent high school graduates to volunteer in various capacities while receiving certain benefits extended to IDF veterans.

The National Service program had planned its first trip to Poland for volunteers next month, ahead of the Passover holiday.

Following Morawiecki’s controversial statement at the Munich Security Conference, however, Minister Ariel, who is in charge of the National Service program, ordered the plans for the trip cancelled until further notice.

Over the weekend, vandals scrawled anti-Polish expletives on the gate of the Polish embassy in Tel Aviv, apparently in response to Prime Minister Morawiecki’s comments Saturday.

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