Prominent Zionist-religious figure Rabbi Zalman Melamed this week stated that Poland is an "impure country riddled with anti-Semitism" that Jews should refrain from visiting.
Less than two months ago another leading rabbi, Shlomo Aviner, almost sparked a diplomatic incident with the Polish government after saying that Israeli students must not take part in educational trips to the Nazi death camps in the country, so as not to provide livelihood to "murderers" who assisted the Nazi regime.
According to Rabbi Melamed, the participation of youths in trips to Poland was "undesirable," and yeshiva students would be best to avoid them, "because they do not need this journey in order to boost their Jewish and national identity."
In a questions and answers session on the yeshiva.org.il website, Rabbi Melamed further stated that Jews were halachically banned from leaving the Land of Israel, even if this was done in order to visit the burial sites of great rabbis.
Controversy in Israel and Poland
About two months ago Rabbi Aviner told Ynet that visiting the death camps was forbidden for both religious and humanistic reasons. "I'm not busy holding a grudge against the Poles, but we shouldn't provide livelihood to people who allowed death camps to be built on their land and who are now making a profit out of it," he explained.
Aviner's words triggered heated controversy in Israel and Poland. Krakow's Israeli rabbi, Boaz Pash said at the time that, "With his remarks Rabbi Aviner essentially strengthens the same anti-Semitic trends that still exist in Poland and that we're fighting against.
"His words obviously aren’t helping the Jewish communities here. They contained sweeping generalizations that are taken lightly in Israel, but that are met with high sensitivity in Poland; he's put us in a very difficult spot."