Ayalon hails planned Munich 11 memorial at Olympics

Diplomatic officials in Israel say that the nature of the memorial reportedly being planned in London not known.

2012 London Olympics logo. (photo credit: Reuters)
2012 London Olympics logo.
(photo credit: Reuters)
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 ceremony.
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 ceremony.
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.
The ministry’s campaign has been augmented by an online petition the families have organized, which has already been signed by some 80,000 people.