Poland must respect religious freedom and reject laws forbidding Jewish rituals
like circumcision and Kosher slaughter, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein warned
President Bronislaw Komorowski on Monday.
“Such decisions have broad
ramifications in Europe, like the Council of Europe’s call to limit
circumcision. I am convinced that we can find a common denominator with our
friend, Poland,” Edelstein said.
Also Monday, President Shimon Peres and
Komorowski discussed the importance of fighting anti-Semitism.
Knesset speaker stated that “it is important for Jews to feel wanted and not
rejected by European countries.”
Edelstein also pointed out that the
fight against anti-circumcision legislation unites the Knesset like almost no
other issue, saying “religious freedom is the first and most important
“Poland is an important friend and supporter of Israel,”
Edelstein said in the Knesset’s Chagall hall. “Our two nations have a long
history together that had its ups and downs. I hope our parliaments continue to
cooperate and deepen the connection between our countries.”
responded that sometimes parliaments are “forces of nature that are hard to
control,” and that the executive branch of Poland’s government did not initiate
the Kosher slaughter ban.
“The issue is currently being examined by the
constitutional court,” he explained. “I hope the verdict will deal with Kosher
slaughter and protect religious rights, so that no one in our country feels
limited. This is very important to us.”
Dozens of Knesset members
are set to visit the Auschwitz- Birkenau death camp in Poland in January, which
the Polish president called “a logistical and security challenge but a very
Komorowski promised to “make every effort to make
the trip happen.”
The Polish president said his country will stand by
Israel and defend the interests of Jews everywhere, at a reception at the
President’s Residence in Jerusalem, also on Monday.
“We are sensitive to
every manifestation of anti-Semitism in Europe in general and in Poland in
particular,” Komorowski said, adding that “Poland is well aware of the security
challenges confronting Israel.
“Poland fully comprehends the distinctive
need for Jews to live in their own sovereign state after such a long absence,”
In welcoming Komorowski, Peres called him “my friend” and “the
president of free Poland.”
Komorowski said his visit to Israel was “of
great significance, because the relationship between the two nations is not only
diplomatic but emotional.”
The Polish president will visit the
Palestinian Authority on Tuesday, and meet with President Mahmoud Abbas in
Bethlehem. Komorowski voiced the hope that the peace talks in which Israel and
the Palestinians are engaged would bear fruit, not just for Israel but for Jews