Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon hailed reports Thursday that some kind of
memorial for the 11 Israeli athletes killed by Palestinian terrorists at the
1972 Munich Olympic Games was being planned for the opening ceremony of this
year’s London games.
“If this is true, it is a tremendous development,”
Ayalon said. “It shows the International Olympic Committee is listening to the
many voices in the international community, parliaments and world leaders who
have stated loud and clear that the call for remembrance at the opening ceremony
is a humanitarian obligation, not a political statement,” said Ayalon, who has
spearheaded efforts to get a moment of silence included in the opening
The Jewish Chronicle in London reported Thursday that Sebastian
Coe, the chairman of the London Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games, told
staff that a memorial was being considered for the opening
Diplomatic officials in Israel said that the nature of the
memorial was not known, but that what was important from Israel’s perspective
was that it take place at the opening ceremony – and not at some side venue –
because the opening ceremony will be attended by tens of thousands of people and
watched by hundreds of millions around the globe.
Ayalon sent a letter to
the International Olympic Committee earlier in the year on behalf of the
families of the murdered athletes asking for a moment of silence, but was told
that the IOC commemorates the incident by attending the memorial service held at
every Olympic games by the Israeli delegation.
Unsatisfied, the Foreign
Ministry launched a campaign around the world to get parliament members and
governments to place pressure on the IOC to have a commemorative moment of
silence for the athletes at the opening ceremony. The families of the 11
athletes have been trying to do this unsuccessfully since 1976, and this is the
first year the ministry has become actively involved.
campaign has been augmented by an online petition the families have organized,
which has already been signed by some 80,000 people.