At least 55 MKs, 6 government ministers, and as many as 250 other public figures, including State Comptroller Yosef Shapira, Supereme Court Justice Elyakim Rubinshtein, Chief Rabbi Dvid Lau, and Yad Vashem CEO Avner Shalev are expected to fly next week to Poland, to mark International Holocaust Day.
The ministers will include Naftali Bennett, Uri Ariel, Shai Piron and Amir Peretz. Opposition leader MK Yitzhak Herzog (Labor) is also going.
A group of 23 Holocaust survivors are also going.
It’s the largest parliamentary delegation to have ever left Israel for the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp in Poland.
The event is organized by 27-year-old maverick PR man Jonathan (Jonny) Daniels, third generation child of survivors, a native of Great Britain who made aliyah, served in the IDF as paratrooper, and is the founder and CEO of Mimaamakim, a not for profit dealing with preserving the memory of the Holocaust.
Interesting note: the delegation will leave Israel before dawn January 27 and return within the same day, without a sleepover on Polish soil. The Knesset is chartering a flight, to the tune of $70 thousand, half of which will be paid by the participating government ministries and the World Zionist Organization.
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelshtein (Likud) will lead the delegation, which is also slated to participate in an inter-parliamentary discussion titled: “Musing about Auschwitz – remembering the past while facing the future,” with lawmakers from Poland, other European countries, Canada and the U.S.
“This project is a life’s dream come true,” Daniels told The Marker. “To see dozens of Knesset members standing on the grounds of Auschwitz will be an unprecedented statement, and I’m proud about Mimaamakim’s role in the initiative and the formation of this project.”
MKs and members of the Polish Sejm will participate in a memorial ceremony together and then march together to the Birkenau Memorial, where the Kadish and El maleh Rachamim will be recited.
In the evening the delegation will participate in the inter-parliamentary event, then have dinner and fly back home.