Noa Kirel landed at Ben Gurion Airport (Niv Aharonson)
Speaking to journalists from Israel after Noa Kirel's impressive Eurovision performance, which included receiving 12 points from the Polish judging team, the singer said: "My real victory was to put Israel on the map, leave a mark and make my country proud of me. These are my greatest achievements. To get 12 points from Poland after almost the entire Kirel family was murdered in the Holocaust is also a real victory."
Her remarks are now causing a storm in Poland, which in recent years has been trying to shake off its historical role in anti-Semitism and the murder of Jews on its soil during World War II. Many on social networks and in the Polish media spoke out against the statement and the singer. "This is a Eurovision scandal," the Polish news website Dorzeczy said. "Kyrell's remarks were interpreted as accusing Poland of murdering Jews during World War II." Another Polish news website, Onet, said: "As gratitude for the points from Poland, it mentions the Holocaust. In fact, the genocide of Jews was carried out in Nazi camps located within the borders of German-occupied Poland."
The protest also reached the Polish parliament. MP Anna Maria Żukowska took to Twitter to address the Israeli embassy in Poland, writing: "Does this statement reflect the level of Holocaust education in Israel? Do young people in Israel think that the Holocaust was caused by Poland?"
"Lack of knowledge and incomplete education." Noa Kirel returns to Israel from Liverpool (Photo: Niv Aronson)
"The fact that many in Israel see Poland as an accomplice in committing German crimes – not their victim – is usually not really the result of evil such as lack of knowledge and incomplete education," Paweł Jablonski, Poland's deputy foreign minister, wrote on Twitter. "There are many reasons, but one of them is definitely the organized trips of Israeli youth to Poland, which unfortunately cemented their participants in such an image of our country for many years.
"That is why a year and a half ago, on my initiative, Poland opened negotiations with Israel on a new formula for these trips. The talks were long and difficult, but the goal was achieved. According to the agreement, signed in March, young people from Israel will learn about the history of our country – including learning about crimes committed by Germans against Poles; They will also meet Poles of their age, which will help break negative stereotypes. Similar rules will apply to trips by young Poles to Israel."
More in Walla!
Yoram Sheftel vs. Noa Kirel: "This Little Postma"
See full article >
"We are starting a long process that will certainly not yield results immediately - but at the same time I am confident that in the long run it will allow us to build good Polish-Israeli relations, based on truth and mutual understanding that both our peoples were victims of German crimes," Jablonski added. The longer and more effectively we work on it, the fewer bad stereotypes or false and painful statements there will be for millions of people in Poland, like Noa Kirl's.
"And Mrs. Noa Kirel herself will be invited to Poland in the coming week - mainly to understand why she thinks this way about our homeland, to explain why it hurts us and why we do not agree to it, to talk about the common history of our nations - and to see with her own eyes the places where Nazi Germany committed cruel crimes against Poles and Jews in our country."
- Noa Kirel
- Eurovision 2023