Israeli Education Minister to Visit Poland Amid Holocaust Bill Crisis

Bennett will meet with Polish officials in meetings not coordinated with the Foreign Ministry

Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett arrives for the weekly cabinet meeting at his Jerusalem office on February 4, 2018.
AFP/ POOL

Education Minister Naftali Bennett will take off for Poland Wednesday to meet with Polish officials. The visit, which was not coordinated with the Foreign Ministry, takes place amid a diplomatic crisis between the two countries over the Polish legislation that would criminalize accusing the Polish people of complicity with Nazi crimes.

The Polish government denied there was any planned visit by Bennett.

During his visit, Bennett will meet with Deputy Prime Minister of Poland, Mateusz Morawieck, and other ministers, and discuss the bill, a statement on Bennett's behalf said.

Haaretz has learned that the visit was not coordinated with the Foreign Ministry, even though it takes place amid a diplomatic crisis. The Foreign Ministry did not respond for a comment.

The meetings in Poland will be the first between an Israeli government official and Polish officials since the legislation caused a furor in Israel.

The bill was passed by the Senate last week, and has been sent to Polish President Andrzej Duda for a final signature. 

In Poland, Bennett will also meet with Polish students, Holocaust survivors and Righteous Among the Nations living in Poland, the statement said.

"I believe that the dispute with the Polish government should be resolved through dialogue," Bennett said. "So I will meet with young students in Poland and with the leadership of the state. The message is clear: the past can not be rewritten. We will write the future together."