(April 25, 2018 / Plonsk, Poland / EJP) Several hundred residents of Plonsk, a small town in the center of Poland that was the birthplace of David Ben-Gurion, a founding father and the first prime minister of the State of Israel, took part in a procession to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Israel’s independence.
Local citizens, including children and teenagers, participated in the procession and the official ceremony that followed.
The event, which was organized by Limmud FSU (former Soviet Union), the “March of the Living” and the Municipality of Plonsk, was joined by Chief Rabbi of Poland Michael Schudrich and Anna Azari, Israel’s ambassador to Poland. It was led by the mayor of Plonsk, Andrzej Pietrasik.
The marchers passed several of the way stations of Ben-Gurion’s early life, including a square named after him in the same spot where his house once stood and where he was born in 1886. The group also passed the home of his uncle, in which he lived for most of his childhood before immigrating to Israel in 1906.
During the ceremony, the youngsters performed dances in traditional costume to the strains of Israeli tunes such as “Hava Nagila.”
In his address, Schudrich said: “Today in this moving ceremony in Plonsk we have witnessed the true Poland, and the reverse side of the true relations between Poland and Israel. A quiet and dignified procession, its face turned toward peace and brotherhood, with no counter-demonstrations, and without strain and tension. It is not at all clear that such an event could have taken place today in Paris, Stockholm or London.”
He added: “What we have seen in this ceremony today is the Poland with whom we need to work together and to nurture the relationship. It is true that there are some problems, but there are also solutions. Today’s event is part of the solution.”