Education Ministry renews youth trips to Poland despite war

Ministry approves outline for trips expected during the summer but warns parents to purchase cancellation insurance in case plans change due to tense security situation in Israel
Tamar Trabelsi-Hadad|
After hundreds of Israeli youth trips to Poland were canceled due to security reasons following Hamas’s October 7 attack and the start of the war in Gaza, Education Minister Yoav Kisch announced on Tuesday that they will now take place.
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However, the security situation in Israel will be regularly assessed, and changes to the trips, which are scheduled for the coming summer, may still occur. Accordingly, the ministry has urged parents "to ensure appropriate cancellation insurance" to avoid financial losses.
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משלחת לפולין
משלחת לפולין
Israeli youths in Poland
(Photo: Moshe Milner)
The renewal of youth trips to Poland is good news for students after years of crises during which hundreds of trips were canceled. These ranged from the period of the COVID-19 pandemic, through the diplomatic crisis between Israel and Poland, the teachers' strike, and the war in Gaza.
At the same time, the fallout of the numerous cancellations was a financial burden on parents, as trips that were planned to depart in recent months and were canceled incurred payments ranging from hundreds to thousands of shekels in cancellation fees, according to agreements with travel agencies. Additionally, many parents lost sums of up to 6,500 shekels each, totaling millions of shekels in losses, after one of the companies faced financial difficulties.
The Education Ministry said Tuesday that the decision to renew the trips was made after completing a pedagogical review to examine and adjust the goals and contents of the trips to Poland, and after they were approved in terms of security and logistics.
"In light of the importance the Education Ministry attributes to preserving the important institution for Holocaust memory and preservation, it encourages schools that wish to hold youth trips in the summer to begin preparing their students and to build a preparation plan that could stand on its own, in the event that the trip must be canceled," the ministry said in a statement.
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יואב קיש
יואב קיש
Education Minister Yoav Kisch
(Photo: Yariv Katz)
"The ministry sees great importance in the accounts of Holocaust survivors who chose to return and live, rebuild their lives and contribute greatly to the establishment of the State of Israel and its spirit and society," the statement added.
The Education Ministry said that 79 trips are expected to leave for Poland in July and August, with approximately 7,000 students included, after over 200 trips were canceled in the fall and winter.
"The trip to Poland allows students to commemorate the victims of the Holocaust, be exposed to the atrocities that took place, and prove the victory and resilience over the attempt to eradicate the Jewish people," Kisch said. "Especially following October 7, there is paramount importance in learning about the Jewish people, its history, and the significance of the establishment of the State of Israel."
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