President & First Lady Rivlin host State Dinner for President & First Lady of Poland
(Communicated by the President’s Spokesperson)
President Reuven & First Lady Nechama Rivlin this evening (Tuesday) hosted at the President’s Residence a State Dinner in honor of the visit of President Andrzej Duda and First Lady Agata Kornhauser of Poland.
“It is a great honor for me to host you here in Jerusalem, the eternal city, the city of justice, and of hope for peace,” began President Rivlin in his address. “Your visit to Israel is another link in the chain which goes back through the close ties between Poland and the State of Israel. This is a chain which is looking to the future in the ongoing, direct, and multidisciplinary cooperation between Israel and Poland, between Israel and the European Union. And yes, it is a chain in which in the middle sits the great tragedy of the Holocaust - whose open wounds still hurt, and whose presence in the relations between our countries can never be ignored.”
He continued, “Israel follows closely the academic and political discussion in Poland on the issue of remembrance and responsibility, and we appreciate the internal clarity and soul searching within Polish society. We don’t always share consensus, yet we rely on, and are sure, that Poland will continue to be committed to comprehensive and unlimited research of the period during the Holocaust: as was mentioned in the joint memorandum of understanding between our governments last November. Now and always, I have thought that politicians have a duty to shape the future, to make history. While it is on the historians to define the past, and research history. It is most appropriate that one should not lapse into the field of the other.”
The President also spoke about the many areas in which the two countries were cooperating; including economy, science and technology, cyber, security systems, and culture. The President also noted that there was much work to be done to develop further in these fields.
President Rivlin concluded by saying, “Poland was the first country I visited as President of Israel. In Warsaw, the capital of Poland, I inaugurated the Jewish Heritage Museum. In that special event I said, ‘even if the Jews were cut away from Poland, it is impossible to disconnect Poland from the Jews’. It is impossible to erase such a rich, full, and painful history. And from the past to the future. I want to conclude my remarks with the blessing I started with. Welcome to Jerusalem. Welcome to the place where the future and the past meet. The place where Poland and Israel are building their shared futures together.”
President Duda thanked the President for his warm words and said, “Before we came into the hall this evening, the President joked to me that all mothers in Israel are ‘Polish mothers’, and I want to send to the Israeli people the thanks and love of all the Polish people, to the Polish mothers of Israel.”
He continued, “I arrive here with a genuine feeling of being at home. As if I had returned to a place I had been to, though I have never previously visited. I am sure that this is a sensation which also accompanies many Jews when they visit Poland. When we visit home we sometimes take in the ambiance, the climate, the similar sense tied to the long shared memories of both peoples. Poland continues to be evidence to the integration of each other's cultures. The flourishing of the Jewish community in Poland is a unique phenomenon in Europe, and it is due to that shared character. For more than a quarter of a century we have been building close bilateral relations founded on cultural, business, and security cooperation. This is a relationship with the acceptance of the collective memory of both countries. The historical truth of this relationship is creating our shared future and it is this which will continue to nurture the Jewish community in Poland, and the ongoing relations between our two countries.”