Israeli ambassador to be summoned to MFA over youth trip statements

Israeli Ambassador Yacov Livne gave a speech on Thursday during commemorations marking the 79th anniversary of a prisoner revolt at the Sobibór concentration camp in the eastern Lubelskie province. Wojtek Jargiło/PAP

Israel's ambassador to Poland will be summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) on Monday to explain public remarks he made that, according to the MFA, misled the public about the reasons Israeli youth trips to Poland have been cancelled.

In June, the Israeli government decided to cancel educational trips to Poland for Israeli youth due to a dispute with Warsaw over whether security officers accompanying the groups could carry weapons.

Israeli media wrote that officers of Shin Bet, the Israeli equivalent of Poland's Internal Security Agency, who always accompany Israeli school trips, had previously been allowed to be armed while in Poland. But this year, an MFA spokesperson said, "a return to the previous rules, including the participation of armed Israeli agents, was not possible."

Israeli Ambassador Yacov Livne gave a speech on Thursday during commemorations marking the 79th anniversary of a prisoner revolt at the Sobibór concentration camp in the eastern Lubelskie province.

He said Israeli students groups had visited the camp in the past but today it was impossible due to a decision taken at the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which, according to him, was hard to understand, both in Israel and in other countries, and that the situation needed to be resolved.

"I regret that Ambassador Yacov Livne decided to communicate with the Polish MFA through the media and public speeches - in addition misleading the public as to the reasons why trips are not taking place," Deputy foreign minister Paweł Jabłoński tweeted on Friday.

"The decision whether to make use of the proposition rests with the Israeli side. We are ready," he added

Clarifying Poland's position on the youth trips, Jabłoński wrote: "1. We are prepared to accept groups even from tomorrow. 2. The security rules should be the same as in other similar countries, i.e. without armed security. Poland should be treated according to the same standard."