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Polish Premier to Visit Israel, to Return Famed Wolf Haggadah

Poland’s prime minister this week was set to make an official visit to the Jewish state, in an effort to build economic ties between the two nations and to bolster the Polish-Jewish relationship.

Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz will meet with top Israeli political and business leaders and with Palestinian Authority leader Yasser Arafat.

Also during the visit, Cimoszewicz, in an official ceremony, will present the 14th-century illuminated Wolf Haggadah to the National Library at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The fate of the Haggadah, worth more than $1 million, has been in question for years.

Officials in Warsaw said the visit had historical significance, in large part because Poland was home to millions of Jews before World War II.

Cimoszewicz and other Polish leaders apologized last year for the 1946 Kielce pogrom, which prompted many of Poland’s remaining Jews to emigrate, and for other anti-Semitic episodes in Poland’s past. The leaders also called for an end to the stereotype that all Poles are anti-Semitic.

Poland also adopted a plan to better conserve the former Auschwitz death complex.

Polish Defense Minister Stainslaw Dobrzanski is accompanying the prime minister, and will likely discuss Polish plans to buy the NT-D anti-tank missile, now being developed by Israel’s Rafael.

Polish exports to Israel totaled $20.7 million in 1995. Imports from Israel totaled $65 million. In the first nine months of last year, there were $12.1 in exports and $61.3 million in imports from the Jewish state.

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