NO KIKE AUSCHWITZ TOURS TO SEE GRANDPA LAMPSHADE
> Israel's Education Ministry canceled Holocaust commemoration trips to Poland for high-school students due to the coronavirus pandemic. Some worry that the memory of the Shoah could become blurred
> Even before Israel closed its borders to international flights in March because of the coronavirius crisis, the Education Ministry announced that it was canceling Holocaust commemoration trips to Poland by high-school students this spring. Its announcement was in late February, when it still seemed possible the trips might be reinstated after Passover. Now the ministry has canceled the summer delegations too, until September for the time being.
> It remains unclear when the trips might resume. Even when they do, the number of families able to foot the bill for the children to travel (it isn’t covered by the state) is liable to drop precipitously because of the anticipated recession. Also, the Education Ministry itself will likely have its budget slashed.
> In 2018, about 40,000 Israeli pupils flew to Poland for the commemoration trip, up sharply from 18,000 a decade earlier. One reason is because air fares were significantly lower: about 5,000 shekels ($1,400) per pupil; also, the ministry subsidized students in need.
> The ministry says that about half the students in both secular and religious high schools go each year. “In other words, the trips to Poland have become mainstream, and are almost mandatory for Jewish Zionist students, not only from Kfar Sava and Tel Aviv (relatively wealthy cities) but from all of Israeli society,” says Uri Meiselman, a musician, tour guide for Poland and a member of the Dror Israel educational movement.
> The trips to Poland have become a key method to commemorate the Holocaust among the young. Substituting them with some other activity requires thought, preparation, and mainly, budgets.
> The families finance the trips. The cost to them covers preparations before the trip: lectures, frontal teaching and visits to the Yad Vashem Holocaust History Museum. Schools from economically stressed areas won’t foot the bill to take the children for a trip inside Israel to mark the Holocaust: “The government has to decide to pay for that,” says Hagai Gross, director of the Education Ministry Society and Youth Administration, who is in charge of the trips to Poland. Yet regarding a potential domestic Israeli substitute for the trip to Poland, Gross admits frankly: “We aren’t there yet.”
> Ministry officials hope that the commemoration trips will be reinstated after the summer, and suggests that delegations that missed trips in spring and summer go this fall instead, assuming it’s possible.
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