Foreigners or co-nationals? Israel, Poland, and Polish Jewry (1948-1967)

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The article argues that a central aspect of Israeli-Polish relations before 1967 was their tripartite nature, involving the two states and Polish Jewry. The main goal of Israeli diplomacy in Poland, to which it subordinated a variety of interests, even those that were central to Israel's foreign policy, was the immigration to Israel of Polish Jewry. The three elements of the triangular relations (Israel, Poland, and Polish Jewry) influenced one another through their policy and behavior, monitored each other, interpreted each other's actions, and reacted accordingly. The aliyah from Poland engendered a new dynamic in the relations. Israel was able to implement its nation-building policy through the immigration of a desired element, and the Polish authorities, by allowing emigration of an unassimilable ethnonational minority, homogenized the nationalizing Polish state. After the massive emigration of the Jews, another element connecting and reshaping the three sides of the triangle emerged: the competition to represent the memory of Polish Jewry, conceived, too, as an instrument in the nation-building process of both states.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-232
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Israeli History
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 2010


  • Israeli foreign policy
  • Poland
  • Polish Jewry
  • aliyah
  • nation building

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Political Science and International Relations


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