GERMAN PRESIDENT Joachim Gauck.
(photo credit: Reuters)
While the International Olympic Committee continues in its refusal to hold a
minute of silence at the upcoming London games for victims of the massacre of
Israeli sportsmen carried out by members of the PLO at the 1972 Munich Olympics,
German President Joachim Gauck is displaying more sensitivity.
course of his state visit to Israel, which starts on Monday, Gauck will meet
with surviving members of Israel’s 1972 Olympic team, and possibly with
relatives of the 11 who were murdered by terrorists who infiltrated the Olympic
village and the building assigned to the Israeli contingent.
terrorists killed two of the Israelis and took nine others hostage.. After
protracted negotiations, the nine were killed during an airport shootout between
the terrorists and German police.
The trauma of the Munich massacre
continues to haunt Israel’s Olympic Committee and its current
But more than anyone else (other than the families of the
victims), it haunts the athletes who were there.
This year marks the 40th
anniversary of the massacre, and requests by the families of the victims, as
well as by members of Israel’s Olympic Committee and government representatives,
for a moment of silence at the start of the London games have all been
Gauck will be given a full military welcome by President Shimon
Peres on Monday, after which he will travel from the president’s official
residence to Mount Herzl to lay a wreath on the tomb of Zionist visionary
Theodor Herzl. He will then continue to Yad Vashem, after which he will have
lunch with internationally acclaimed author David Grossman, whose son Uri was
killed in the Second Lebanon War.
In the afternoon Gauck will meet with
members of Israel’s 1972 Olympic team, after which he will meet with Foreign
Minister Avigdor Liberman and with opposition leader Shelly Yacimovich before
returning to the president’s residence for a state dinner that Peres is hosting
in his honor.
On Wednesday Gauck is scheduled to visit the Weizmann
Institute of Science in Rehovot, after which he will have lunch with Prime
Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. In the afternoon he will honor celebrated
German-born industrialist Stef Wertheimer by presenting him with the Commander’s
Cross of the Order of Merit.
In the early evening he will meet with
Holocaust survivors and German expatriates living in Israel at the
Charles Hospice in the capital’s German Colony
Before returning home on Thursday, Gauck will visit
Ramallah to hold discussions with the Palestinian leadership.