Wednesday, May 04, 2005

What should be learned in Poland?

Ha'aretz has an interesting analysis of the value of sending Israeli teens on trips to concentration camps in Poland. One of the main criticisms is that
the principal lesson learned on the trips is that without a strong Israel and a strong army, there can be no guarantee for a future Jewish existence.
This is of course one of the lessons of the Holocaust. However, visiting Poland is also a valuable chance for Israeli kids who have inherited a tradition of negating and looking down on the Diaspora to discover that perhaps something of value took place there after all, and to form a new relationship to what is after all their own history. As the Polish President told Education Minister Livnat:
"What is important is what the youth see when they visit Poland. We think it is not enough to show what happened during the Holocaust - they need to know something about 800 years of Jewish life in Poland that preceded the tragedy."
Of-course, his agenda, softening Poland's image in Israel, is not the same as mine. But he is still correct.

No comments: