Israel Interests Section in Warsaw Has Officially Opened

The Israel interests section in Warsaw, the first Israeli diplomatic presence in Poland since that country broke relations with Israel during the 1967 Six-Day War, opened officially Tuesday morning.

The head of the section, Mordechai Paltzur, told Israel Radio in a telephone interview that the opening was a “private, internal” ceremony attended by a few invited guests, including members of an American United Jewish Appeal women’s delegation visiting Warsaw en route to Israel.

The only diplomat present was The Netherlands Ambassador to Poland whose country represented Israel’s interests there since 1967. Paltzur said he held a large Independence Day reception at his home Monday attended by a number of Polish officials.

According to Paltzur, his small staff was “earning its salary” even before the official opening. He said the office has had many Polish visitors seeking information about Israel and some applying for visitors’ visas. Poland is opening its own interests section in Tel Aviv.

The opening in Warsaw coincided with the fifth World Congress of Polish Jewry which convened in Tel Aviv Tuesday evening. A delegation from Poland, comprising five Jews and one non-Jew, is attending. The head of the Polish interests section in Tel Aviv will make his first public appearance at the Congress.

The delegation from Poland is headed by Shimon Szurmiez, a member of Parliament and director of the state-subsidized Yiddish Theater in Warsaw. He told Maariv in an interview that there are about 15,000 Jews in Poland and Jewish cultural clubs are active in 15 cities.

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