President receives credentials from new Israeli ambassador

Piotr Nowak/PAP

Poland’s president has hailed procedures to formally reinstate a new Israeli ambassador to Poland, saying it was the first step towards improved relations with Israel.

Andrzej Duda said on Tuesday that Yacov Livne, the new ambassador, had submitted his credentials. Duda also said that he had spoken to his Israeli counterpart about bringing normality back to Polish-Israeli relations. 

"I have agreed with the president of Israel, Isaac Herzog, that it's time to return to normal relations between Poland and Israel," Duda wrote on Twitter. "The first step has been taken. Ambassador Yacov Livne submitted his credentials today."

Duda also highlighted that President Herzog had requested the return of the Polish ambassador to Israel. "I hope that will soon happen," Duda said. 

Polish-Israeli relations deteriorated last year after Warsaw passed legislation introducing a statute of limitations on claims for the restitution of property. This limited the ability of Jews to recover property that had been seized from Jews by Nazi Germany occupying Poland during the Holocaust and was later kept by the country's post-war communist rulers. 

Last year, Tel Aviv recommended that the Polish envoy, Marek Magierowski, on holiday in Poland at the time, should not return to Israel. 

Yacov Livne arrived in Poland in February but did not have the opportunity to present his letters of credence as Poland was without an ambassador in Israel. 

Following a telephone conversation between the two heads of state on July 4, Duda said they had agreed to mutually reinstate ambassadors. The President's Office added that "both presidents expressed hope that all issues in bilateral relations will be resolved in the future through frank and open dialogue, in the spirit of mutual respect."

"For a long time we have been holding talks with representatives of the Israeli authorities who want to return to normal relations at the diplomatic level between our countries," Duda told the Polsat News broadcaster later at the time. "We were therefore asked to appoint a new Polish ambassador to Israel."

In the meantime, Magierowski has become the Polish ambassador to the United States, but according to Duda, a new Polish ambassador will be appointed to take over the post in Tel Aviv.

"And I hope that thanks to this, relations will return to normal and will be normal," he said.