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President approves Polish-Israeli agreement on youth trips

Paul Ellis/PAP/PA

Andrzej Duda, the Polish president, has signed into law a Polish-Israeli intergovernmental agreement regulating the rules for organising trips by Israeli youth to Poland.

Young Jewish Israelis would traditionally make educational trips to Poland, which included visits to former Nazi death camps, where they paid tribute to their victims.

They were accompanied by armed officers belonging to the Shin Bet, the Israeli internal security agency.

But in June last year the Polish Foreign Ministry said that, “a return to the previous rules, including the participation of armed Israeli agents, was not possible.”

Subsequently, the Israeli government decided to cancel the trips.

After nearly a year of stalemate, in March 2023, Zbigniew Rau, the Polish foreign minister, and his Israeli counterpart, Eli Cohen, reached an agreement to resume visits by organised groups of Israeli youth to Poland.

A draft law ratifying the agreement was submitted to the Lower house (Sejm) in May and it was passed in June.

The purpose of the agreement between Poland and Israel is to create a legal framework for organising all study visits of Israeli youth to Poland and Polish youth to Israel under the auspices of the ministries of both countries responsible for education.

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