Air Force cargo plane (archives)
Auschwitz concentration camp
Deterioration in Israel -Turkey relations reaches new low: The Yedioth Ahronoth daily has learned that Ankara prevented an Israel Defense Forces aircraft making its way to Poland to fly in its airspace.
The cargo plane was carrying more than 100 officers and non-commissioned officers to a tour of memorial sites and concentration camps.
The army delegation left for Poland as part of the "Edim Bemadim" (witnesses in uniform) project, which was initiated by former IDF Personnel Directorate head Major-General Elazar Stern, a member of a Holocaust-surviving family.
Military delegations are comprised of career soldiers, course trainees, reserve soldiers and representatives of bereaved families. Each journey is joined by a Holocaust survivor, the delegation's witness, who provides explanations on the places and events from his personal point of view.
The army views the project as a key component in instilling the memory of the Holocaust, which strengthens the officers' sense of mission and commitment to the IDF and State of Israel.
The flights to Poland and Germany are carried out on Israel Air Force cargo planes, mostly of the Boeing 707 model.
Civilian and military planes' route to Poland passes regularly over Turkey, but this time the IAF was forced to use an alternative route. The delegation members were unaware of the change.
The IDF refrained from making an official comment on the matter so as not deepen the rift between Israel and Turkey. Nonetheless, despite the strained relations, a Turkish security delegation visited Israel over the past month to examine remote-piloted vehicles purchased from the Israel Aerospace Industries and Elbit Systems.
Despite Turkey's declarations that it has halted all its purchases from Israel, officials in the Israeli defense industries say there has been no change in the extent of business between the two countries.