Thursday, December 09, 2004

The Israelis are trying to get Polish passports

The Israelis are trying to get Polish passports: "The Israelis are trying to get Polish passports
11/30/2004 11:25:00 AM GMT

Most of the Israelis who have polish roots are trying to acquire Polish passports

A lot of Israelis have roots in Poland, but they either emigrated during the communist era or were forced out of the country.

Now, most of the Israelis who have polish roots are trying to acquire Polish passports.

Every Monday morning, Israelis, at different ages, line up in front of the Polish embassy in Tel Aviv, digging deep into their pasts, trying to convince the authorities that they have the right to get Polish passports.

What an ironic reversal! Those people, or their parents, were once before lined up in front of foreign embassies in Poland, trying get visas to go to Israel, thinking that they were going to a better life. It seems that the better life now is going back to Poland.

Michael Kerner, 43, an Israeli with two children, says: "I would like to have a Polish passport as insurance for my future". Michael’s parents were born and grew up in Poland, but left in 1957 when anti-Jewish sentiment made life there too difficult for them.

"Israel is not the most stable place," he said. "I want to have a place to go to which will be easier."

The ongoing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, together with Gaza withdrawal plan, have led most of the Israelis to start questioning whether their dream of a Jewish homeland is an impossible one. They started looking for other options for themselves and their families.

Now they're starting to see Poland, once the country they and their families fled, as a more stable and attractive place, specially after it joined the EU.

"Young people know that Poland is now in Europe and they want to be free to travel, not to be pressed to show the Israeli passport which always can be attacked because of the conflict," said Miriam Akavia, a novelist who arrived in Israel from Poland in the late 1940s.

As for the Polish embassy in Tel Aviv, the huge number of Israelis applying for Polish passports is quite a challenge, for the staff is ill equipped to put up with the added workload.

"We can accept about 100 applications a month, approximately half of the applicants get a positive answer from Poland," he said."


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