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Lapid decries passage of Poland’s ‘anti-Semitic’ restitution law, recalls charge d’affaires from Warsaw

Poland has become an “anti-democratic, non-liberal country,” says Israel’s foreign minister, after Polish President Andrzej Duda approves legislation restricting claims on property stolen by the Nazis and confiscated by the communists.

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid issues a video statement on Poland's passage of a law that severely limits restitution for property stolen by the Nazis during the Holocaust and confiscated by the post-WWII communist regime. Aug. 14, 2021. Source: Twitter.
Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid issues a video statement on Poland's passage of a law that severely limits restitution for property stolen by the Nazis during the Holocaust and confiscated by the post-WWII communist regime. Aug. 14, 2021. Source: Twitter.

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid on Saturday night accused Poland of having “become an anti-democratic, non-liberal country that does not honor the greatest tragedy in human history.”

Lapid was responding to Polish President Andrzej Duda’s approval of legislation recently passed by both houses of Poland’s parliament, which establishes a 30-year limit for restitution claims on property stolen by the Nazis during the Holocaust and then confiscated by the post-World War II Communist regime.

Referring to the law as “anti-Semitic and immoral,” he stated. “Never be silent. Israel and the Jewish people will certainly not remain silent.”

In his statement, a video of which he posted on social media, Lapid also announced that he had recalled the charge d’affaires at the Israeli embassy in Warsaw, Tal Ben-Ari Yaalon, until further notice, and instructed newly appointed ambassador to Poland, Yacov Livne, to remain in Israel “for the time being.”

In addition, he said, he was going to recommend that Polish Ambassador to Israel Marek Magierowski extend the vacation he is on in his country.

“He should use the time available to him to explain to the Poles what the Holocaust means to the citizens of Israel and how much we will not tolerate contempt for the memory of the victims and the memory of the Holocaust,” said Lapid, adding that Israel is in talks with the United States on a further response.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Saturday called Duda’s approval of the law “a shameful decision” that exhibits “disgraceful contempt for the memory of the Holocaust.”

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday expressed “deep concern” about the Polish bill and called on Duda not to sign it into law.

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