Hundreds of residents of the small Polish town of Plonsk have taken part in a procession to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Israel’s independence.

Plonsk was the birthplace in 1886 of Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, previously known as David Gruen, who lived in the town until emigrating to Ottoman Palestine in 1906.

Ben-Gurion is still remembered in the town, and the marchers passed several significant sites of his early life, including a square named after him situated on the site of the house where he was born, and the home of his uncle where he lived until he emigrated.

Locals joined Limmud FSU and participants in the annual March of the Living for the procession, which was led by the mayor of Plonsk, Andrzej Pietrasik, walking with the Chief Rabbi of Poland, Michael Schudrich, Anna Azari, Israel’s ambassador to Poland and Aaron Tamir, Deputy Chair of March of the Living.

In a ceremony that followed the march, addresses were given by Plonsk’s priest, Rev. Edmond Makovsky, and Limmud FSU co-founder Chaim Chesler.

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.”

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