Israel cancels youth trips to Poland amid diplomatic row

Jews from around the world participate in the March of the Living at the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp in Poland, April 24, 2017. (Yossi Zeliger / Flash90)

Dispute over educational content for Holocaust programs was reportedly resolved, but not security arrangements.

Israel cancelled this summer’s youth trips to Poland amid a disagreement over security arrangements for the trips on Wednesday.

An initial Israeli announcement also cited Polish interference in the educational content, but Israel’s Walla News subsequently reported that an unspecified compromise was reached.

“It has been decided at this time that the activities of the youth delegations to Poland will be frozen,” said the Education Ministry in a message to some 7,000 students who already booked travel arrangements.

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According to Hebrew media reports, the Polish government is not allowing Shin Bet security guards accompanying the students to carry weapons. In previous years, the guards were permitted to carry guns on Polish soil.

Polish officials have not commented on the matter.

Channel 12 reported that parents who already paid for trips will be reimbursed, but complications are expected because schools made arrangements with different travel agents and airlines

The content of the educational trips has been a point of contention for Poland, where a nationalist government passed a law that criminalizes accusations of Polish collusion with the Nazis during the Holocaust.

The law has already forced some Jewish educational programs to move to neighboring Lithuania.

Last year, Deputy Foreign Minister Pawel Jablonski claimed the Israeli youth trips promoted anti-Polish sentiment and added that Warsaw would reconsider future programs.

(World Israel News).


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