Poles and Jews are like two cousins - Poland's chief rabbi

Speaking to the Super Express daily Chief Rabbi of Poland Michael Schudrich said that Poles and Jews are like two cousins who are sometimes at odds. He added that people know that family arguments can be very intense.

Rabbi Schudrich also expressed the opinion that the similarities between Poland and Israel sometimes make it difficult for the two countries to communicate.

The chief rabbi, referring to the words of Israel's acting Minister of Foreign Affairs Israel Katz regarding anti-Semitism in Poland, emphasised that for him "Katz's statement is not a political problem, but first and foremost a question of the truth," adding that "As a spiritual man it is my duty to speak out loud when something is not the truth. And it is not the truth, what Katz suggested in his statement - that all Poles are anti-Semites."

In Rabbi Schudrich's view "such a position on the matter is not only offensive and painful, but first of all, it is untrue."

Schudrich pointed out the fact that "Jews have been present in Poland for over a thousand years, living together, Poles and Jews became very similar to each other." He also noted that "We also share the same good and bad characteristics. These striking similarities sometimes make it very difficult to talk with each other."

In the opinion of the chief rabbi the "dramatic arguments which sometimes explode between us are not the result of us being so different, but through us being so similar." He went on to point out that "Poles and Jews are like two cousins who are sometimes at odds, and we know that family arguments can be very intense. With a stranger you can just wave them off, but if a relative says something out of order, a big argument kicks off."

The chief rabbi expressed the opinion that "people should listen more to spiritual (people - PAP), and not politicians. Then it would be easier to achieve what we all wish for - good Polish-Jewish relations." He went on to emphasise that "too much connects us for even more fires in our relations to separate us for good. Now we must extinguish the current blaze and move forward together."