Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) announced at the beginning of March that there had been a rapprochement of positions during talks conducted through diplomatic channels, raising hopes that a comprehensive agreement regulating the travel of organized groups of Israeli youth to Poland could be signed in the near future.
“A preliminary agreement has been reached regarding a treaty between the governments of Poland and Israel on co-operation in the field of organized youth group study visits,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on Thursday via Twitter. “On March 16, 2023, negotiations on the agreement between the Government of the Republic of Poland and the Government of the State of Israel on cooperation in the field of organized youth group study visits were held in Warsaw. A preliminary agreement has been reached in this matter.”
Statement on negotiations of the agreement regarding the return of trips of organized groups of Israeli youth to Poland ⤵️https://t.co/Oo89PznXa1
— Ministry of Foreign Affairs 🇵🇱 (@PolandMFA) March 16, 2023
As the MFA stated at the time, Poland would always be ready to receive and host Israeli individuals, both individually and as part of organized groups, in accordance with existing accords between our nations, including visa-free travel. “We are in support of boosting people-to-people encounters between Poles and Israelis, particularly among the young generation, as this is critical to enhancing understanding between our nations,” the statement added.
In mid-June 2022, the Israeli Ministry of Education announced the cancellation of educational trips to Poland for high school students. The ministry justified its decision by stating that there were problems that prevented proper and safe communication with students during the trips. The spokesman for the MFA, Lukasz Jasina, stated at the time that a return to the previous rules, including youth trips with the participation of armed Israeli services, was not possible.
Israeli youth traditionally came to Poland in the summer to visit former German Nazi camps in order to gain knowledge about the Holocaust and commemorate those murdered. This trip has long been considered a milestone in Israeli education, and before the outbreak of the pandemic, around 40,000 Israeli students participated in it every year.
On the cancellation of student travels from Israel to Poland, the Israeli Ambassador to Poland, Yacov Livne, stated in mid-June last year that “work is underway to achieve a shared, decent, acceptable aim.” “I believe we will resolve this situation shortly,” he stated emphatically.