Yair Lapid
Yair LapidFlash 90

Polish President Andrzej Duda on Saturday signed into law a bill limiting restitution for Holocaust-related claims.

In a Saturday statement, Duda said: "I made a decision today on the act, which in recent months was the subject of a lively and loud debate at home and abroad. After an in-depth analysis, I have decided to sign the amendment."

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid), responded: "Today, Poland approved, not for the first time, an anti-Semitic and unethical law. Tonight, I instructed the chargé d'affaires of the Israeli Embassy in Warsaw to return to Israel immediately for indefinite consultations."

"The new Ambassador to Poland, who was due to leave for Warsaw soon, will not be departing for Poland at this stage.

"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will recommend today that the Polish Ambassador to Israel remain on holiday in his country. This time should be used to explain to the people of Poland the meaning of the Holocaust to the citizens of Israel, and the extent to which we will refuse to tolerate any contempt for the memory of Holocaust and its victims. It will not end here," Lapid promised.

"We are holding discussions with the Americans to coordinate our future response," he added.

"Tonight, Poland has become an anti-democratic and illiberal country that does not honor the greatest tragedy in human history. We must never remain silent. Israel and the Jewish people will certainly not remain silent."

Defense Minister Benny Gantz (Blue and White) said: "As the son of Holocaust survivors, I am deeply disturbed by the law passed in Poland that effectively prevents justice from the victims of the Holocaust and their families."

"Property restitution is a small yet significant part of the process to fulfill the rights of those who have survived and to acknowledge those who have perished in one of the world’s biggest genocides. I call on my international partners to condemn this move in one voice."

The bill, approved Wednesday by the Polish Parliament, prevents the restitution of Jewish property, or compensation for it, to Holocaust survivors and their descendants. The proposed legislation, which will apply in retrospect, will make it almost impossible to appeal decisions made on the subject of stolen property more than 30 years ago.

The law would affect about 90 percent of restitution claims.

Last month, Lapid warned: "This legislation will severely damage our relations with Poland. Poland knows very well what the right and proper thing to do is."

He added: "We consider every progress in this legislative process as a serious development. We will firmly defend the dignity of Holocaust victims, their memory and their rights. This legislation will severely damage our relations with Poland. As I said before, Poland knows very well what the right and proper thing to do is."