6/05/2018

* ! THE ISRAELI STUDENTS ? *

Participants carrying Israeli flags at the former Nazi-German Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration
 and extermination camp during the 'March of the Living' at Oswiecim in Krakow, Poland on
April 24, 2017. (Omar Marques/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images via JTA)

TEL AVIV  : Just some months ago, Poland decided to outlaw claims of Polish complicity in the holocaust. This was widely - and rightly - condemned around the world.

But for understandable reasons, no country has responded as angrily as Israel, the Jewish state and the guardian of Jewish interests.

''The law is baseless; I strongly oppose it,'' Prime Minister Netanyahu said. ''One cannot change history.'' The opposition, which rarely agrees with Mr. Netanyahu joined him in the condemnation.

Tzipi Livni, the former  foreign minister, called the law ''spitting in the face of Israel''.

Yair Lipid, a member of the Knesset and the son of a Holocaust survivor, wrote that ''hundreds of thousands of Jews were murdered without ever meeting a German soldier.''

The Poles were unimpressed with the righteous rhetoric of faraway political leaders. To drive the point home, Warsaw even cancelled a planned visit from Israel's education minister, Naftali Beneett, who had been especially critical of the new law.

[''I am honored,'' he said in response. The blood of the Polish Jews cries from the ground, and no law will silence it.'']

Relations between the two countries - which recently had been warm  -are now in a hopeless crisis.

But with crisis comes opportunity. Obviously, Israel should continue to try to convince Poland that the law does more harm than good.

But more important, Israel should take this chance to change its relationship not with Poland but with the Holocaust.

The debate over the Polish law and Poland's role in the Holocaust forces a spotlight on how the mass murder of Jews in the 20th century is remembered in Israel today.

Each year, tens of thousands of young Israeli's mostly students and also soldiers visit Poland and in what feels like the culmination of their Holocaust education.

On these trips, encourage by the Ministry of Education and undertaken, according to some measures, by about a third of Israel's Jewish students - teenagers visit the sites of the ghettos, the cemeteries and the death camps.

They see the remnants of once great Jewish centers and learn about the killing machine that ended it.

They often wrap themselves in Israeli flags; they often cry. How can anyone visit Auschwitz and not cry.?

This visit, almost a rite of passage in today's Israel is a powerful tool - first class education'' as Mr. Bennett put it - for instilling in students the need to remember what happened to the  Jews of Europe.

Nonetheless, it is time to end these trips.

The Honor and Serving the latest Global Operational Research on The State of Mankind and the state of the World continues to Part 2. !WOW! thanks author and researcher Shmuel Rosner.

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