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Israeli teenagers to resume educational tours concentration camps in Poland

Annual school trips to concentration camps were suspended last year after Israeli-Polish dispute over the curriculum, the presence of armed guards

High school students participate in the March of the Living at Auschwitz in Poland, April 11, 2018. (Yossi Zeliger/Flash90)

Israeli teenagers will once again have the opportunity to visit concentration camps in Poland as part of their school curriculum, according to an announcement made on Tuesday night.

“After a wasted year, we are resuming the teen trips to Poland,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after the announcement. “The lessons of the Holocaust can be learned in many ways, but there is nothing better than seeing it with one’s own eyes.”

The announcement about the resumed trips was issued jointly by the Prime Minister's Office, as well as the Foreign Ministry and Ministry of Education.

The resumption of the school trips “is of great importance in shaping the national identity of the youth, and familiarity with the history of the people of Israel in general, and preserving the memory of the Holocaust in particular,” said Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen.

The school trips were suspended for a year after a dispute between Israel and Poland over a curriculum issue and the presence of armed security guards.

Polish-Israeli ties have been tense since 2018, after Poland passed legislation forbidding the mention of Polish complicity or responsibility for the murder of Jews during the Holocaust. However, there have been recent signs of improved relations between the two nations.

Last month, the Cohen spoke to his Polish counterpart, Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau, the first such high-level conversation in two years. 

The resumption of Israel's educational trips to Poland are yet another sign, according to Israelis, that relations are improving.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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