ELNET brings historic delegation of Polish MPs to Israel

Israel had not hosted a Polish delegation in four years before this week's visit.

 Polish MP delegation meets with Knesset on January 17, 2023 (photo credit: Courtesy of ELNET)
Polish MP delegation meets with Knesset on January 17, 2023
(photo credit: Courtesy of ELNET)

The first delegation of Polish MPs in four years arrived in Israel on January 15, intending to re-establish the Poland-Israel Friendship Group of the Knesset after an extended hiatus.

In recent years, relations between Poland and Israel have stalled due to disagreements on Holocaust-related issues. In an effort to repair diplomatic ties between the nations, The European Leadership Network (ELNET) organized a delegation of 13 Polish MPs to visit Israel from January 15-18. The delegation, led by Chairwoman of the Health Committee of the Senate Senator Beata Małecka-Libera and Deputy Speaker of the Polish Senate Michał Kamiński, toured strategic sites in Israel and met with prominent Knesset members. 

Yesterday, the Polish parliamentarians met with President Isaac Herzog. "Israel is interested in constantly upgrading and improving relations, and we expect Poland to do the same," Herzog told the delegation.

 Polish MP delegation meets with President Isaac Herzog on January 16, 2023 (credit: Courtesy of ELNET) Polish MP delegation meets with President Isaac Herzog on January 16, 2023 (credit: Courtesy of ELNET)

“Leading this historic ELNET delegation to Israel was an absolute privilege,” said Senator Małecka-Libera. “Visiting Israel and meeting with Herzog was an extremely important and positive moment and hopefully this will be the start of a new period of improved relations between Israel and Poland.”

"Israel is interested in constantly upgrading and improving relations, and we expect Poland to do the same."

President Isaac Herzog

Today, the Polish delegation met with several notable MKs from the coalition and the opposition, where they officially requested the relaunching of the Poland-Israel Friendship Group.

Deputy Speaker of the Knesset Moshe Tur Paz told the delegation that he “will work for the Knesset friendship group to be reinstated and [that he looks] forward to a stronger relationship between the countries.”

Several Knesset members, including MK Boaz Bismuth and MK Yasmin Friedman, agreed with MK Tur Paz on record.

“This delegation to Israel is not only important for diplomatic relations, but also for the opportunity to learn from Israel's expertise in dealing with the daily challenges caused by conflict such as border security, cyberattacks on critical infrastructure and community resilience,” CEO of ELNET-Poland Marta Kubica said in a press release. “Israel has some of the best specialists in the world for dealing with war trauma and PTSD and this visit could lead to new opportunities for cooperation between the two countries and bring them closer together and ELNET is proud to be a part of such a process.”

"This is a historic visit meant to open a new page in relations between Israel and Europe."

CEO of ELNET-Israel Emmanuel Navon

The delegation learned about Israel’s crisis management and emergency response infrastructures through meetings with the National Emergency Management Authority of the Ministry of Defense, Rambam Hospital, and the Mashabim Center for Community Stress Prevention. They also toured Israel’s northern border and visited a Hezbollah terror tunnel, where they gained insight into Israel’s unique security challenges.

“This is a historic visit meant to open a new page in relations between Israel and Europe,” CEO of ELNET-Israel Emmanuel Navon said in a press release. “Poland has proven to be a reliable and invaluable ally in the Western alliance against Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine. As Russia upgrades its military ties with Iran, there are new opportunities for cooperation between Poland and Israel. This is a momentous occasion for both Israel and Poland, and ELNET is honored to play a role in fostering stronger ties between the two countries.”