Israeli Education Ministry freezes youth trips to Poland Holocaust sites

Courtesy of JNS. Photo credit: Yossi Zeliger/Flash90

Jewish youth from all over the world participating in the “March of the Living” at the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp site in Poland, as Israel marks annual Holocaust Memorial Day on April 16, 2015

(JNS) The Israeli Education Ministry announced on June 14 that it was freezing youth trips to Holocaust sites in Poland, according to Israeli media reports.

The main reason for the cancellation is a disagreement between Israel and Poland over security arrangements during the visits, which are accompanied by armed Israel Security Agency agents, according to Walla. Poland had asked to reduce their presence, according to the report.

The report also cited Israeli officials as saying that Poland also sought to influence the content of educational messages passed on to Israeli youth during the trips. Poland is interested in presenting its view of the role of non-Jewish Poles during the Holocaust, to improve Poland’s image, other Israeli media outlets reported.

A compromise was reached on the matter, according to the reports.

The ministry said in a statement that it was “continuing to have a dialogue with the Polish authorities, with the aim of reaching a solution for the various issues tied to the delegations’ visits, in light of the importance that the ministry attaches to remembrance of the Holocaust, and in this context, to the delegations.”

Israeli trips of youths to Poland began to occur in large numbers in the 1990s, and became a central feature of national Holocaust remembrance activities.

In March, the Israel Defense Forces canceled delegations of career officers to Poland, sending them to Lithuania instead.

 

 

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