A sign reading "Stop!" in German and Polish is seen at the former Nazi German concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz, during the ceremonies marking the 73rd anniversary of the liberation of the camp and International Holocaust Victims Remembrance Day, in Oswiecim, Poland, Jan. 27, 2018. (Reuters photo)
JERUSALEM, Jan. 27 (Xinhua) -- Israel on Saturday denounced a new Polish bill which criminalizes any suggestion that Poland participated in crimes against humanity during the Holocaust.
The draft law, passed by the lower house of the Polish parliament on Friday, stipulates a maximum penalty of three years in prison for those who use phrases like "Polish death camps" to describe the killing sites operated by the Nazis in occupied Poland during World War II.
Millions of people, mostly Jews, were killed in Nazi death camps in Poland during the Nazi regime.
Israel was outraged at the new legislation. The Israeli Foreign Ministry released a statement urging the Polish government to amend the new legislation.
"No law can change the historical truth and there is no place to educate the families of Holocaust survivors, who everyday live with the memory of their loved ones who perished," the ministry said in a statement.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he has instructed the Israeli ambassador to Poland to meet with the Polish prime minister on Saturday evening to convey Israel's "strong position against the law."
"The law is baseless," Netanyahu said in a statement released on his behalf. "I strongly oppose it. One cannot change history and the Holocaust cannot be denied," he said.
Yair Lapid, chairman of Yesh Atid party, even started a quarrel with the Polish embassy in Israel after he slammed the bill as an attempt "to deny Polish complicity in the Holocaust" on his Twitter account.
"It was conceived in Germany that hundreds of thousands of Jews were murdered without ever meeting a German soldier. There were Polish death camps and no law can ever change that," said Lapid, a son of a Holocaust survivor.
The Polish embassy reacted by suggesting that Israelis needed to be educated about the Holocaust, saying Lapid's claims are "unsupportable" and show "how badly Holocaust education is needed, even here in Israel."
Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennet has instructed schools to dedicate two hours in the upcoming week to learn about the complicity of "Europe nations, including the Poles" in the Holocaust.
"It is a historical fact that many Poles helped murder Jews. It is also a historical fact that Germans initiated it," said Bennet.
About six million Jews were killed by the Nazis in World War II, many of them in the death camp of Auschwitz and other death camps in Poland.