Polish PM condemns 'xenophobic' attack on ambassador to Israel

The ambassador was spat at in his car near the Polish embassy in Tel Aviv, according to police. Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki called the incident a "racist attack;" Israel said it was "a top priority" to investigate.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki described Tuesday's attack on their ambassador to Israel as racially motivated.

"I am very worried to hear of a racist attack. Poland strongly condemns this xenophobic act of aggression. Violence against diplomats or any other citizens should never be tolerated," Mowawiecki wrote on Twitter.

Polish ambassador Marek Magierowski (pictured above) was sitting in his car on Tuesday when a man approached and spat at him, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.

The assault on Magierowski (pictured above), who was appointed to the role of ambassador in June 2018, comes amid rising tensions between the two countries concerning the Holocaust and Poland's World War II history.

Poland has responded with hesitancy to Israeli calls for the country to pay reparations regarding former Jewish properties. Israel, meanwhile, was highly critical of Poland's 2018 law criminalizing any comments suggesting Polish individuals were involved in the Holocaust or Nazi war crimes

Read more: Poland and Israel at odds over Holocaust restitution

On Monday, the Polish Foreign Ministry canceled a planned visit to an Israeli delegation at short notice, citing discomfort over the issue of compensation for the assets.

Read more: Poland cancels Israeli visit amid Holocaust restitution row

Israel's first response to the spitting incident was one of sympathy and assurance. Foreign Ministry spokesman, Emmanuel Nahshon, said it was being investigated and that Polish friends would be updated when the evidence had been collected.

"Israel expresses its full sympathy with the Polish ambassador and shock at the attack," Nahshon said. "This is a top priority to us, as we are fully committed to diplomats' safety and security."

The 65-year-old suspect, who was initially detained for the incident, has been subsequently placed under house arrest and will be prohibited from being in the area of the Polish embassy for 30 days.

jsi/msh (AP, dpa, AFP)