NAFTALI BENNETT: Iran must be forced to choose between the nuclear path and a prosperous economy.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Education Minister Naftali Bennett is scheduled to travel to Poland on Wednesday in the wake of the controversial bill passed by the Polish legislature last week that would make it a criminal offense to suggest that Poland was complicit in the Holocaust.
The Polish bill, which passed a Senate vote last Thursday, would impose up to three years of jail time for using the term “Polish death camps,” when describing such death machines as Auschwitz and Treblinka, or for implying complicity of the Polish nation in the Nazi murder of millions of Jews and other minorities during WWII.
Bennett will meet with Polish students and with the country’s Deputy Premier and Science and Higher Education Minister Jarosław Gowin in an official state visit to relay Israel's opposition to the Polish legislation.
“I am determined to clearly say that history has already confirmed that the Polish people had a proven involvement in the murder of Jews during the Holocaust,” Bennett said on Monday. “I came to tell the truth in the place where the truth happened and it is not dependent on any law.”
Bennett said that he believes the "dispute" with the Polish government
should be resolved through "discourse and dialogue” rather than over an exchange of statements in the media.
As such, he said he will meet with young students in Poland and with the leadership of the State to deliver a clear message: "The past cannot be rewritten, the future will be written together."
Bennett will also visit the "Warsaw Uprising" museum commemorating the uprising of the Polish underground against the Nazis during WWII as well as visit the "Jewish Suffering" memorial in the center of Warsaw's Old Jewish Ghetto.
The minister will also meet with Holocaust survivors and Righteous Among the Nations, people who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust, who are living in Poland.
The legislation has sparked a diplomatic crisis between the two countries, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accusing Poland of trying to “rewrite history.”
“We have no tolerance for distorting the truth, rewriting history or for Holocaust denial,” he said on Sunday at the weekly cabinet meeting.
Netanyahu also spoke with the Polish prime minister in the hopes that he would amend the legislation before getting final approval from Poland's president.
Polish President Andrzej Duda still has some two weeks to decide whether to sign the legislation into law.