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Israel summons Polish envoy over legislation

Israel Education Ministry devises lessons emphasizing Poland's involvement in the Holocaust

"I strongly oppose it. History can not be changed, and the Holocaust must not be denied", he said, adding that he had instructed Israel's envoy to Warsaw, Anna Azari, to meet the Polish prime minister to convey a "firm stand" against the law.

Poland's lower house approved the proposed legislation on Friday, a date heavy with resonance: the 73th anniversary of the liberation of the most notorious German Nazi death camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland.

Poland's President Andrzej Duda said in a statement on Sunday that he would present his "final evaluation of procedural legal provisions after the completion of parliament's work and a careful analysis of the final shape of the act".

Poland was attacked and occupied by Nazi Germany in World War II, losing six million of its citizens, including three million Jews in the Holocaust.

"The timing of the bill - the eve of International Holocaust Remembrance Day - was particularly surprising and unfortunate".

Yad Vashem issued a statement Saturday night opposing the Polish legislation and trying to put into historical context the "complex truth" regarding the Polish population's attitude toward its Jews.

"Had not so many civilians outside Germany participated in the extermination campaign, there would have been fewer Jews murdered in the Holocaust", the plan teaches. The victims were killed the Nazi regime in the Second World War, which resulted in the deaths "of one third [six million] of Jewish people, along with countless members of other minorities". A turning point was the publication in 2000 of a book, Neighbors, by Jan Tomasz Gross, a Polish-American sociologist, which explored the murder of Jews by their Polish neighbours in Jedwabne.

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Poland's deputy chief of mission, Piotr Kozłowski, told Israeli media the law's objective "is not to whitewash history, but to safeguard it and safeguard the truth about the Holocaust and prevent its distortion".

In a statement, Lapid said he is ready to bring proof of Polish involvement if the law is passed.

Israeli historians, such as Yisrael Gutman, have said a small minority of Polish police and Polish local authorities aided the Nazi forces. The measure must still pass the Senate before going to the president for signing.

The lesson plan also says that "this collaboration was expressed through ignoring the fate of the Jews ("bystanding"), in informing on and turning in Jews, and even active participation in the murder itself (collaborators)".

Journalist Matthew Yglesias, who is Jewish, tweeted, "I really thought last year's thing where they left out the Jews was a Holocaust Remembrance Day low point but Pence has taken this to new places in an awesome way". "Therefore, careless references to "Polish" death camps, and the implication that Poles were somehow responsible for their existence, is certainly objectionable", he said. We live with the consequences every day in our collective memory. And there are serious indications that they embellish and falsify history of Poles during the war regarding the Jews.

It comes as Poland's ruling Law and Justice Party has sought to protect the eastern European country's reputation by criminalising the "insulting and slandering" of the "good name of Poland".

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