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The Warsaw Voice » Politics » April 16, 2008
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Tusk in Israel
April 16, 2008   
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"Anti-Semitism is not and will not be tolerated in Poland," Prime Minister Donald Tusk told his Israeli counterpart Ehud Olmert in Jerusalem April 8. Olmert thanked Tusk for visiting Israel on the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Jewish state. He said the visit demonstrated Tusk's personal commitment to strengthening ties between the two nations. Olmert also voiced his appreciation of the Polish government's moves to combat anti-Semitism. He added that there may be a role for Poland in reducing threats in the Middle East.

Tusk said his government would finalize the issue of restitution of nationalized property over the next few months. He said that his planned "reprivatization" law would apply to all current and former Polish citizens who had lost property during and after World War II and would not single out any ethnic group for special treatment. Tusk added that restitution would not be open to negotiation with other governments.

Olmert said Israel took an interest in the fate of property left behind by Jewish people in Poland. "I am glad to see Tusk is serious and honest about this issue and has promised fair treatment to those citizens who left property behind in Poland," Olmert said. "I believe the Polish government will find the right solution to this problem."

Tusk visited Jerusalem's Old Town, including the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, prior to his talks with Olmert. He also prayed at the Wailing Wall, Judaism's most sacred site. Tusk took part in a ceremony inaugurating Polish Year in Israel on April 9. Polish Year will feature a series of Polish cultural events.

On April 10, the President's Office in Warsaw announced that President Lech Kaczyński would be visiting Israel May 13-15. Kaczyński's Israeli counterpart Shimon Peres has invited him to a conference for heads of state to mark the 60th anniversary of the founding of the state of Israel. Peres visited Poland April 14-17.
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