Edelstein exhorts Polish president against anti-circumcision laws, ritual slaughter ban

Komorowski to Peres: Poland is sensitive to anti-Semitism, says relationship to Israel is "emotional."

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November 4, 2013 19:25
2 minute read.
Poland's President Bronislaw Komorowski with Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein.

Poland President Edelstein 370. (photo credit: Courtesy Knesset Spokesman's office. )

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.

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Also Monday, President Shimon Peres and Komorowski discussed the importance of fighting anti-Semitism.

The 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 freedom.”

“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.”

Komorowski 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 important challenge.”

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,” he added.

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 everywhere.


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