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August 29, 2014 / 3 Elul, 5774
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Almost Half the Knesset Going to Auschwitz

Jonathan (Jonny) Daniels

Jonathan (Jonny) Daniels
Photo Credit: JDPR website

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.

About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.


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4 Responses to “Almost Half the Knesset Going to Auschwitz”

  1. Last week, the government of the State of Israel won a Supreme Court battle that it has been fighting against a group of elderly Holocaust survivors. The government has been fighting stubbornly for years to deny these survivors any benefits from Holocaust reparation funds. Most of these survivors have no family, and many of them are impoverished.

    Maybe instead of spending millions of shekels on sending MK's to Poland and other expensive, high-profile publicity stunts, the government of the Jewish state should spend its money on helping actual Holocaust survivors, instead of fighting them and abandoning them to suffer and die in poverty.

    http://www.jpost.com/National-News/Supreme-Court-closes-door-on-Children-of-Tehran-Holocaust-survivors-338048

  2. > I PROTEST THIS TRIP because a huge amount of money being spent. My father was in Auschwitz and my mother was in the work camp Skarzishko and Beuchenwald concentration camp during the Holocaust Skarzish and Beuchenwald. Even though my wife and I visited Auschwitz and the other camps to verify that they existed, the Polish government still has not returned the land and homes owned by all my grandparents and relatives who were murdered by the Nazis. All children of these Holocaust survivors should protest and demand compensation.

    Rabbi Dr. Bernhard Rosenberg

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