PRESIDENT REUVEN RIVLIN addresses the Holocaust Remembrance Day opening ceremony at Yad Vashem on Sunday.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
In the 45 years since 11 members of the Israeli Olympic team were murdered in Munich, the International Olympic Committee has refused to allow a minute’s silence in their memory at the opening or closing ceremonies of the games.
Memorial events organized by Israeli embassies are held in venues removed from the Olympic stadium. The memorial ceremony held during the London Olympics was attended by then British prime minister David Cameron and then Israel minister of culture and sport Limor Livnat, along with family members of the slain athletes. A “Just One Minute” international campaign launched by then deputy foreign minister Danny Ayalon did not bring about the desired result.
And while there was a slight concession in Rio de Janeiro last year when a black flag was flown in the stadium, but present Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev declared that small gesture was not enough
Although a memorial service was held in the Munich Olympic Stadium in 1972, not much else has happened by way of sympathy and contrition.
But finally last year, the decision was made to a build a memorial in Munich, which will be unveiled by German President Dr. Frank Walter Steinmeier and President Reuven Rivlin in the first week of September. Rivlin is scheduled to arrive in Germany on September 5 and leave on September 7, so he can be home in time to celebrate his 78th birthday on September 9 with his family.
Steinmeier visited Israel and spent time with Rivlin in May of this year.
Rivlin said he was honored to join his German counterpart in inaugurating this moving tribute to Israel’s proud sportsmen who were murdered in cold blood by vicious terrorists.
“This memorial must stand as a witness to the dangers of hatred and the cruel brutality of terrorism, as well as to the promise that those who perpetrate and support terrorism will pay the price,” he said.