WASHINGTON – Israeli Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer said publicly on Monday that he hopes Poland will move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem in the near future.
Dermer made the comment during an event held jointly by the Israeli and Polish embassies in Washington, which commemorated 100 years of Poland’s independence and 70 years of Israel’s.
The event also included the lighting of a Hanukkah lamp.
“The relationship between our two countries is so strong that I remain hopeful that next year, the Polish ambassador to Israel will follow in the footsteps of the American ambassador to Israel, and light a menorah in a Polish embassy in Jerusalem,” Dermer said.
Attendees, who included Israelis, Poles and American supporters of Israel, applauded the remark. Dermer also said that despite tensions that emerged between the two countries over the summer because of the Polish government’s attempts to sanction historians who have written about the country’s involvement in the Holocaust, that controversy was now settled in the eyes of the Israeli government.
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“I’m pleased that our two governments were able to reach an agreement that enables us both to respect the past and work together to build a common future,” Dermer said at the event, which was hosted by his Polish counterpart, Piotr Wilczek. The Polish ambassador, meanwhile, stated that “we solved the problem” thanks to a “significant declaration by the two prime ministers.”
The declaration both ambassadors referred to was harshly criticized in July by a group of senior Israeli Shoah historians working for the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial. The historians wrote in a public letter that the joint declaration by Prime Minister Netanyahu and his Polish counterpart, Mateusz Morawiecki, contained “grave errors and mistakes.”
The Polish ambassador told Haaretz after the event that he was unaware of any immediate plans by his government to move its embassy in Israel. “Our Israeli friends often express such hopes, but I’m not aware of any plans regarding this at the moment,” he explained.
Israel has improved its relationships with a number of right-wing governments in Eastern Europe over the past two years, including those of Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic.
All three countries have been mentioned in press reports as potential “candidates” to join the United States in moving their embassies to Jerusalem. The Czech Republic has taken the most significant step in that direction so far, by opening a diplomatic and cultural site called the “Czech House” in Jerusalem.