We need to take deep breath: PM on spat with Israel

Poland’s PM Mateusz Morawiecki said that what Poland needs now with regard to its current and rather tense relations with Israel, is “a deep breath”.

“We need to take a deep breath,” Mr Morawiecki told Polish Radio, adding that he does not rule out the possibility of more strong words being said in the near future as the election campaign in Israel is getting into gear.

Israeli parliamentary elections will take place on April 9, 2019.

Poland’s PM also praised the Visegrad Four (V4) group which, apart from Poland, includes the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary, as well as the Jewish communities’ reaction to the words of Israeli FM Yisrael Katz, who said on February 17 that “Poles have suckled anti-Semitism with their mother’s milk.”

The FM’s comment was the main reason for Poland to cancel its participation in the V4 summit scheduled to take place in Israel on February 18,with the other V4 states’ signifying their withdrawal in a gesture of solidarity with Poland.

Nevertheless, the delegations from the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia met in Israel to conduct a series of bilateral talks instead.

Poland’s PM expressed his appreciation for the American Jewish Committee’s statement, stressing the long Jewish tradition in Poland. Mr Morawiecki also praised the Chief Rabbi of Poland and the Union of Jewish Communities in Poland’s condemnation of the Israeli FM’s words.

“Allow me to stress that we have done a lot in terms of highlighting Polish history, the heroic role played by those Poles who saved Jews during WWII and hence this decision (not to attend the V4 summit) that hopefully will become a wake-up call for some. It seems it was needed,” said PM Morawiecki.