German neo-Nazis banned from Israel

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The purpose of the attempted visit was unclear.

An Israeli passenger, Yonatan Olinki, told Israel Radio that the unannounced stop concerned him.

"Suddenly, the captain announced, `We are forced to land in Istanbul.' When I heard this, I started to worry, because he gave no explanation. I was really shocked, and so were the other Israelis. We didn't understand what had happened," Olinki said.

The flight continued on to Israel after a four-hour delay.

There were strong protests throughout Israel about the neo-Nazi attempt.

The Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial issued a statement objecting to the visit, noting that dozens of Holocaust survivors had called to express "their objections to and pain at this visit, especially since the arrival of the delegation coincided with the 60th anniversary of Kristallnacht."

On that day, Nov. 9, 1938, dozens of Jews were killed, hundreds of synagogues and Jewish shops were burned or destroyed, and 30,000 Jews were arrested in the first major pogrom of the Holocaust.

The German Embassy in Tel Aviv issued a statement saying it had "no advance information on the intention of the visit and is not involved in the organization of the visit."