Polish Ambassador to Israel Fires Two Employees for Protesting Polish Abortion Ban

The employees carried signs against the PiS ruling party, apparently crossing a line in their 'misuse of religion and ethnicity'

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ההפגנה מול שגרירות פולין בתל אביב, בשבוע שעבר
The protest at the Polish Embassy in Tel Aviv, October 28, 2020. Credit: Tomer Appelbaum

Poland’s ambassador to Israel fired two employees of the Polish Institute in Tel Aviv for protesting increased restrictions on abortions in Poland.

The two employees carried signs decrying the right-wing, conservative Polish ruling party, called Law and Justice (PiS), in response to a court ruling in Poland last week that abortion, even in cases of fetal defects, is illegal.

The ambassador, Marek Magierowski, published a statement saying that the employees had “crossed the line” because they carried signs stating “Jews don’t give a damn about ‘Law and Justice’ either.” Their dismissal will become final later this week.

The two employees who were fired following the protest in Tel Aviv, October 28, 2020. Credit: Tomer Appelbaum

About 30 people took part in the protest Wednesday in front of the Polish Embassy in Tel Aviv. Participants carried signs condemning the ruling of the Polish Constitutional Court.

Among the protesters were a man and a woman who work for the Tel Aviv branch of the Polish Institute, which is a branch of the Polish Foreign Ministry that disseminates Polish culture in various countries. The two are Poles with dual Israeli citizenship. One of them, Tadeusz Wolenski, is a longtime and well-regarded employee of the institute, and is responsible for its cultural programs. Wolenski is the son of Prof. Jan Wolenski, a well-known Polish-Jewish intellectual from Krakow.

Ambassador Magierowski announced his decision to dismiss the two workers on Twitter. He said that as a rule he does not interfere in the political and ideological positions of embassy and institute employees, but in this case a “line had been crossed,” which shocked him. He added that the two had misused religion and ethnicity in the signs they carried.

Over the weekend, tens of thousands of people demonstrated in Warsaw against the court ruling and other protests took place across the country, some of them violent, by pro- and anti-abortion activists.

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