Poland’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Witold Waszczykowski will arrive in Israel on Tuesday evening (June 14) for a three-day visit, during which he will meet with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and other top Israeli officials.
"The visit will focus on bilateral issues, and will enable us to deepen cooperation with Israel – our friend and significant partner in the Middle East," said Poland’s Ambassador to Israel Jacek Chodorowicz. "Minister Waszczykowski will discuss the agenda of G2G, the government-to-government meeting slated to take place in Jerusalem in the fall. It is a major event, with Polish and Israeli heads of governments participating alongside several ministers."
On June 15th the Polish chief of diplomacy will hold talks with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Cabinet Minister Tzachi Hanegbi, and Director-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Dore Gold. "It will be Minister Waszczykowski’s first visit to Israel since taking office in November 2015," Chodorowicz noted.
The Minister will be accompanied by a delegation made up of the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Polish-Israeli Parliamentary Friendship Group, the Director of the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw, and other officials.
In Jerusalem, the group will visit the graves of Polish soldiers and civilians who arrived to the British mandate of Palestine during World War II. "Over 120,000 Polish soldiers and their families, among them many Jews, marched from the Soviet Union, via Persia and Iraq, to join the British forces stationed in the Middle East," Ambassador Chodorowicz recounted. "After this incredible journey many of them succumbed to exhaustion or disease. This is why we have a cemetery with Polish graves in Jerusalem."
In addition, Minister Waszczykowski will visit Yad Vashem, where he will lay a wreath in remembrance of the victims of the Holocaust. Of the six million Jews who were murdered during World War II, half were Polish citizens. At Yad Vashem, the Minister will also honor the 6,600 Poles who were awarded the title of Righteous Among the Nations.
Today, Poland boasts a small but vibrant Jewish community – something Chodorowicz was keen to emphasize.
"There is a feeling of investment in the future of Jewish life in Poland, with many non-governmental organizations such as the JCC and the Taube Foundation operating in our country," Chodorowicz stated. "Furthermore, Poland’s city of Cracow is home to the largest Jewish culture festival in the world attended by thousands of people each year."
Poland also boasts strong relations with the State of Israel, since resuming diplomatic relations with the Jewish state 26 years ago after the fall of communism in Central-Eastern Europe.
Israel is one of Warsaw’s major political and economic partners in the Middle East. Bilateral trade and services turnover is set to approach €1 billion for 2015. Poland is increasingly interested in deepening cooperation with Israel’s startup and high-tech ecosystems; to this end, Poland and Israel run a joint R&D program for innovators from both countries (the current call for proposals is open until July 19th, 2016). In addition, the two countries have significant ties in the military, cultural and educational arenas.