Knesset Speaker Yuli-Yoel Edelstein met on Sunday with the visiting Foreign Minister of Poland, Grzegorz Schetyna, and members of his delegation. During the meeting, which was held at the Knesset, Edelstein expressed his appreciation of the ”friendship that has existed between our countries over the past few decades,” and added that ”we must continue to strengthen the cooperation between our parliaments on issues such as science, education and green energy.”

Edelstein further stated that ”Unfortunately, there are those who are trying to hurt the State of Israel, and we appreciate our allies that try to block measures aimed at harming us.”

Responding to FM Schetyna`s question on the stalled negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, Knesset Speaker Edelstein said: ”I am pessimistic in the short term and optimistic in the long term. We don`t have to immediately approach the core issues, such as Jerusalem. Rather, we should first pursue trust-building measures – such as cooperation on issues like energy and water resources.”

Edelstein told the members of the Polish delegation that he was concerned by the fact that the fight against ISIS has ”pushed aside the Iranian issue.” He warned of a situation whereby Iran will ”spread a nuclear umbrella over Hamas and Hezbollah.”

The Polish FM thanked the Speaker of the Knesset and said that he is aware that it is a tough job because he was also once the Speaker of the Polish Parliament. Similarly, Schetyna thanked Edelstein for the speech that he gave in the plenum in memory of the ”Righteous Gentile” Wladyslaw Bartoszewski, a former Polish minister who recently passed away. ”We very much appreciate the words that were said in his memory from the Knesset stage. Bartoszewski is a symbol of our history and of the cooperation between us.

Minister Schetyna emphasized that he arrived to Israel with his delegation not just for political reasons, but also to hold economic meetings and to strengthen the economic and tourism-related cooperation between the countries.

Head of the Israel-Poland Parliamentary Friendship Group, MK Hilik Bar (Zionist Camp), said ”In light of history and also because Poland is becoming an increasingly important country in Europe, it is very important for us and we will do anything to strengthen the connections.” MK Bar referenced the BDS movement and said that it is a ”horrible phenomenon” that only hurts the chances for peace. On Iran, MK Bar brought up that in the past it was said that North Korea would not be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons and in the end they have those weapons. ”Iran is not North Korea” Bar said and added ”We are, above all else, Israelis, and only then a coalition and an opposition.”