Social Equality Minister: Polish law could seriously damage relations

Minister Meirav Cohen: It is my duty and that of my fellow members of the government to work for the realization of the rights of survivors.

Elad Benari, Canada ,

Meirav Cohen
Meirav Cohen
Flash 90

Social Equality Minister Meirav Cohen responded on Friday to the Polish Senate’s approval of the controversial restitution law.

"The Polish parliament's insistence on promoting the law denying Jews the right to reclaim their property taken as a result of the atrocities of the Nazis and their partners during World War II could seriously damage relations. History cannot be changed. It is my duty and that of my fellow members of the government to work for the realization of the rights of survivors," she said.

Earlier, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid responded to the approval the Polish restitution law, calling the legislation damaging to relations between Israel and Poland.

“This legislation will severely damage our relations with Poland. Poland knows very well what the right and proper thing to do is,” said Lapid.

He noted that “Israel is following with great concern the progress of the legislative process in Poland on the restitution rights of property which was looted from Holocaust victims.”

The bill, which recently passed the lower house of parliament in Poland, is intended to provide greater legal certainty for current owners of pre-war properties against historical claims dating back to the Nazi German occupation.

Critics say it could effectively block descendants of Jewish families from claiming properties left empty during the Holocaust and Israel has condemned the legislation as "immoral".

The Israeli Foreign Ministry recently summoned Poland’s ambassador to Israel after senior Polish leaders excoriated Israel’s foreign minister for criticizing the legislation.

On Thursday, Haaretz reported that Israel asked the Biden administration to support its effort against the Polish restitution legislation.

According to the report, Lapid was in talks with Washington on the matter and had raised the issue in his conversations with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and asked for his help.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)