President Rivlin: “Poland’s influence in Europe is very important to us, it is a democratic country, returning to its democratic roots, and which understands that you cannot maintain a state when it faces an existential threat.”
Copyright: GPO/Mark Neiman
(Communicated by the Office of the President)
President Reuven Rivlin, continued today (Wednesday 29 October 2014), with the second day of his state visit to Poland. Last night, he inaugurated the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, in Warsaw, together with the President of Poland. Later, President and First Lady Rivlin were the guests of honor at a state dinner held at the Polish Presidential Palace.
In a meeting this morning with Polish Prime Minister, Ewa Kopacz, the two discussed a wide range of issues, relating to the developing bilateral relations between Israel and Poland.
President Rivlin told Prime Minister Kopacz, “It is a great honor for me to visit Poland, and I am most fortunate that the first event that I have participated in as President, outside of Israel, was of such importance to the Jewish and Polish peoples in particular. I have followed closely the developments in Poland over that last two decades, also in the framework of the European Union, and I know that when we speak, we understand one another. Poland’s influence in Europe is very important to us, it is a democratic country, returning to its democratic roots, and which understands that you cannot maintain a state when it faces an existential threat.” The President continued, “As friends, we sometimes agree to disagree, but we see you as a moderating factor in Europe, in the attempts to bring us to take action. Coexistence in the Middle East is a fact, and there is no other place for the Jewish people, anywhere in the world. The President added, “In the last century, a terrible tragedy has occurred which had a dramatic effect on our people, but as I said to the Prime Minister, as a leader of the Polish democracy, the defenders of democracy understand very well, that the State of Israel is not a result of the Holocaust. The State of Israel is not at war with the Muslim people, nor with the Arab people, and of course not with the Palestinian people, but that terrorist organizations cannot dictate to the region the conditions under which we live.”
Prime Minister Kopacz thanked the President for his words, and said that the friendship between Israel and Poland will continue to grow and deepen, on the basis of shared interests, especially in the fields of economy and security. She asked of President Rivlin to relay a message to Israel’s youth to come and visit Poland, to deepen the understanding of the two people’s shared history.
Following the meeting, President Rivlin met with hundreds of students at the Warsaw University of Technology, and held a closed meeting with the heads of Polish universities, during which he discussed academic and scientific cooperation, for the benefit of both countries.
Later today, the President will meet the Speaker of the Senate, and Speaker of the Sejm (Polish upper and lower houses of parliament), and also with leaders of the Jewish community in Poland, before returning to Israel this evening.