For the first time in history, a moment of silence was held Friday at the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics in remembrance of the Israeli victims of the 1972 Munich massacre by Palestinian terrorists.
היום, לראשונה במשחקים האולימפיים, הוזכר באופן רשמי הטבח האכזרי של 11 מחברי המשלחת הישראלית באולימפיאדת מינכן 1972.
אני מברך על הרגע החשוב וההיסטורי הזה.
— Naftali Bennett בנט (@naftalibennett) July 23, 2021
— Emily Schrader – אמילי שריידר (@emilykschrader) July 23, 2021
“We remember those who lost their lives during the Olympic Games,” the message was announced first in English and then in Hebrew, “One group still holds a strong place in all our memories and stand for all those we have lost at the games — the members of the Israeli delegation at the Olympic Games Munich 1972,” as the lights dimmed at the stadium.
On September 5, 1972, heavily-armed Palestinian terrorists from the Black September Organization took hostage of Israeli athletes at the Olympics village in Munich. Within 24 hours, 11 Israeli athletes and a German police officer had perished in the botched rescue mission. Five Palestinian gunmen were also killed.
At the time, the IOC decided to continue the games as the attack unfolded.
The victims’ families had been rejected by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in their request to observe a moment of silence to commemorate their fallen loved ones at an opening ceremony for 49 years, according to Reuters.
Right before the 2012 Olympic Games in London, the moment of silence was deemed ‘inappropriate’ by Jacques Rogge, the President of the IOC at the time, according to the Jerusalem Post. (RELATED: Olympic Opening Ceremony Director Fired For Holocaust Joke)
In 2016, the IOC allowed a “Place of Mourning” in Rio de Janeiro’s Olympic Village instead of holding it during the opening ceremony, according to BBC.
“We went through 49 years of struggle and never gave up. (We) can’t stop the tears from flowing. For this moment we waited,” said Ilana Romano and Ankie Spitzer, widows of weightlifting competitor Yossef Romano and fencing coach Andre Spitzer, 2 of the victims who perished in the attack, according to Reuters.
“An important and historic moment; May their memories be a blessing,” Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett tweeted.