The Israeli delegation of lawmakers, public figures and Holocaust survivors who flew to Poland to participate in a memorial service is stranded in Kraków after a technical issue barred their plane from taking off.
Half of the 170-strong delegation is on its way to Israel but some senior figures, among them Economy Minister Naftali Bennett and Opposition Chairman Isaac Herzog, are still grounded in the Kraków military airport. The group is expected to take off as soon as a replacement aircraft is made ready for them.
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The leaders and Shoah survivors flew to Poland to participate in a special Knesset ceremony at the Auschwitz concentration camp to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
The Israir plane was stopped from taking off a technical issue was found in the fuel system. The dignitaries and Holocaust survivors had just returned from the Auschwitz ceremony and were taking their places on the plane for the flight home when they were informed of a gas leak. Officials decided they would wait for an alternative plane.
MK Michal Rozin (Meretz) was on the plane: "We received a message that there is an issue with the plane's fuel system and so we decided to wait for a replacement."
Because of security issues arising from the use of a military airport, the MKs must stay onboard while they wait, first for the replacement plane and then for a green light to take-off.
Some 54 MKs arrived Monday at the Auschwitz death camp to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
The delegation of 54 Israeli lawmakers travelled to Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland on Monday for a special ceremony to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day, and the 69th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camp.
The delegation held a memorial services at the former Nazi death camp and later held an historic Knesset meeting on Polish soil, alongside Polish politicians.
The delegation includes dozens of Holocaust survivors, as well as Supreme Court Justice Elyakim Rubinstein, Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein and former Knesset speakers Shevah Weiss and Dalia Itzik.
During the evening, there was to be a meeting of lawmakers and dignitaries from Israel, Poland, the United States, Canada and other nations.
The event placed unprecedented complex logistical demands on the Knesset, requiring intense coordination on personal security and with Polish security sources, as well as planning for the flights, transportation and accommodation, and medical professionals and equipment.
The delegation flew to Krakow in two planes, with the MKs split between the two aircraft for security reasons.