Photo: Yossi Zeliger
March in Plonsk
April 15, 2017
Several hundred residents of this small Polish town, the birth place of David Ben Gurion, the first Prime Minister of the State of Israel, took place in a procession to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Israel’s independence. The local citizens including children and teenagers participated in the procession and the official ceremony that followed.
The event, which was organized by Limmud FSU, the March of the Living, and the Municipality of Plonsk, was joined by the Chief Rabbi of Poland, Michael Schudrich, Anna Azari, Israel’s ambassador to Poland and was led by the Mayor of Plonsk, Andrzej Pietrasik.
The marchers passed several of the way stations of Ben Gurion’s early life including a square named after him in the same spot where was the house in which he was born in 1886, and the home of his uncle in which he lived for most of his childhood before immigrating to Israel in 1906.
During the ceremony, the youngsters performed dances in traditional costume including to the strains of Israeli tunes such as Hava Nagila. Speeches were delivered by local and Israeli dignitaries including Schudrich, Azari, Chaim Chesler, founder of Limmud FSU, the deputy chair of March of the Living, Aharon Tamir and the town’s priest, Rev. Edmond Makovsky.
Rabbi Michael Schudrich said: “Today in this moving ceremony in Plonsk, we have witnessed the true Poland, and the reverse side of the true relations between Poland and Israel. A quiet and dignified procession, its face turned toward peace and brotherhood, with no counter demonstrations and without strain and tension. It is not at all clear that such an event could have taken place today in Paris, Stockholm or London.”
Limmud FSU founder Chaim Chesler and initiator of the event said that "At today's event in Płońsk we saw another Poland, that despite all the differences and obstacles, celebrating Independence Day of the State of Israel, together with young Jews from various countries around the world. From our point of view, this is a tremendous achievement, and I am glad that we could contribute even a little to the brotherhood and peace between the nations."