An actor portraying Jesus Christ takes part in Passion Play as part of Good Friday celebrations at the Sanctuary of Kalwaria Zebrzydowska near Krakow, Poland April 19, 2019..
(photo credit: AGENCJA GAZETA/ADRIANNA BOCHENEK VIA REUTERS)
Blue and White co-leader Yair Lapid slammed “Polish hatred of Jews” on Sunday in response to reports that residents of the southeastern Polish town of Pruchnik created an effigy of a haredi Jew, beat it and burned it.
The Easter custom symbolizes the judgment of Judas Iscariot, who legend states was the apostle who betrayed Jesus. While Jesus and all his disciples were Jewish, Christianity in the Middle Ages associated Judas with the Jewish people in order to justify antisemitism.
Lapid wrote that the “hatred of Jews in Poland continues to poison the air,” adding that “Poles should fight antisemitism, not pass laws that deny their role in the Holocaust.”
Lapid is referring to recent laws passed in Poland by the conservative ruling party Law and Justice, which penalize those who say the Polish nation was involved with the mass murdering of Jews in occupied Poland.
The Polish perspective is that Poland, unlike France or Norway, never collaborated with the Germans, so it is misleading to claim the Polish nation took part in the destruction of the Jewish community. They argue that Poles who abused and murdered Jews were not representing the nation.
Lapid called on the Netanyahu-led government to condemn the incident.
The effigy was hung on a pole in a street named after Pope John Paul II. That pope, born Karol Józef Wojtyła in the southern Polish town of Wadowice, was famous for viewing Jewish culture as an “older brother” of the Catholic faith.
After the hanging, the effigy was beaten 30 times and was decapitated before it was set on fire, JTA reported.
The Catholic tradition, which is at least 200 years old, used to be associated with acts of violence against the Jewish community in Poland, but during the years of Polish socialism the practice went out of fashion.
The Catholic Church in Poland recently made headlines after some priests burned the Harry Potter books in public, marking a growing conservative trend in the country.
US ambassador in Poland Georgette Mosbacher sparked controversy in Poland after she wished Jewish people a Happy Passover. Poles slammed the diplomat for failing to address the majority Catholic culture and wishing a Happy Easter as well.
The US Embassy responded by saying they have always wished Happy Easter on Sunday, as that is the date of Easter.
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