President Reuven Rivlin
President Reuven RivlinFlash 90

President Reuven Rivlin spoke on Thursday with Polish President Andrzej Duda, a day after Poland decided to amend its controversial Holocaust Law and remove criminal penalties and jail sentences from the law.

"I wanted to thank you personally for all your efforts to change the law," the President told Duda.

"I still remember our conversation at the March of the Living and was pleased to see that the disputes were settled and that we were able to reach an understanding despite the differences of opinion," continued Rivlin.

Rivlin stressed to the Polish President that relations between Israel and Poland are good and warm and that “we turn to the future in the spirit of the joint declarations published last night.”

President Rivlin invited Duda for a visit and said he hoped to meet him in Jerusalem soon.

The Polish law, originally passed in January, criminalizes blaming the Polish nation or people for crimes committed by Germany during World War II.

The approval of the law prompted sharp protests from Israel, as well as criticism by the United States, among other countries.

Jewish organizations, including the World Jewish Congress, complained the law was a violation of free speech and impediment to historical research of the Holocaust.

In Poland, thousands of Jews were saved by locals from the Nazis during their occupation of the country from 1939 to 1945. In addition to killing three million Jewish Poles, the Nazis murdered also three million non-Jewish ones. Many Poles are therefore angry when their ancestors are accused of Nazi crimes.

But Poles betrayed to the Nazis thousands of Jews and in some cases, killed Jews themselves.

On Wednesday, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki announced that the law would be amended and sent back to parliament.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu later responded to the decision, saying, "I am pleased that the Polish government, the parliament, the Senate and the President of Poland have decided to completely abolish the clauses of the law that have stirred up a storm in Israel and abroad.”

He added that " ties with Poland are important to us and are based on trust, and I met with the Polish prime minister several times and together we set up a task force that reached an agreed-upon formula."