Education Minister Naftali Bennett on Thursday referred to the joint statement by the prime minister and Polish prime minister about the Polish role the Holocaust. The statement was published this morning as an ad in Israeli newspapers.
Bennett noted, "The joint statement by the Prime Minister of Israel and the Prime Minister of Poland regarding the responsibility of Poles in the Holocaust is disgraceful, full of lies and distortions, and it desecrates the memory of many Jews murdered by Poles."
"The statement describes a so-called systematic action by the Polish government-in-exile and the Polish undergrounds for help and assistance to the Jewish people, which is not compatible with reality," he said. “These activities were few and not central.”
The minister of education referred to the distortions in the joint declaration and said, "The declaration also dwarfs the role of many Poles who informed on, turned over, and even murdered Jews ('We recognize and condemn every case'), as opposed to the numerical glorification (‘many Poles’) of Righteous Among the Nations, who were wonderful, but not many. That is, they turn the rare doers of kindness into a common phenomenon as it were, and the widespread events of handing over and murder into rarities. The historical reality is that the assistance of Poles to the Jews was a relatively rare phenomenon, while the Poles' harm to the Jews was widespread. The contrast is blatant.”
"I respect and cherish the friendship between the two countries today, but as minister of education of the State of Israel, who is entrusted with imparting the memory of the Holocaust, I will not in any way lend a hand to distorting the events of the Holocaust. After consultation with the certified professionals, I establish unequivocally that this declaration has no historical and factual validity. There is a huge difference between a flawed Polish law and an official sanction of the government of Israel for distortions and lies," Bennett added.
Bennett vehemently rejected the joint statement and announced that he was demanding that the decision be frozen until it was brought to the cabinet for approval: "It is better that there be no statement than a false statement signed by the government of Israel. This statement was not brought before the government, is not approved by government ministers, is unacceptable to me as minister of education, and I demand that the prime minister change it or cancel it immediately, or alternatively bring it to a vote in the government, where I am certain it will be rejected."