RIO DE JANEIRO (JTA) – Brazilian and Israeli officials will lead a ceremony at this summer’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro honouring the 11 Israelis murdered by Palestinian terrorists at the Munich Olympics in 1972.
The Aug. 14 ceremony at the Rio City Hall will feature the widows of weightlifter Yossef Romano, who was kidnapped, castrated and murdered by the terrorists, and Andre Spitzer, a fencing coach, lighting 11 candles, according to the Folha de S. Paulo newspaper.
Officials from the Israeli Olympic Committee and the Israeli Consulate will lead the commemoration.
“As Brazilian, Jewish and Zionist, we are deeply moved by the International Olympic Committee initiative,” Israel’s honorary consul in Rio, Osias Wurman, told JTA. “The fact it will happen in Brazil is very remarkable to all Brazilian Jews.
“We must remind the world that killing Israeli Jews was not a practice restricted to Munich. Nowadays, the suicide terror once again stabs innocent Jews in the land of Israel.”
The International Olympic Committee had already announced a special area in the Olympic Village in Rio to commemorate the memory of Olympians who have died, including the Israeli athletes and coaches. In addition, a “moment of reflection” in honor of all dead Olympians will be held during the closing ceremony.
“There will be no minute of silence at the opening ceremony,” read an International Olympic Committee note, frustrating a longtime request of families. “We will dedicate a moment during the closure ceremony to allow everyone at the stadium and everyone watching at home to remember their loved ones that have passed away.”
Israel has 20 qualified athletes for the Rio games, to be held Aug. 5-21 in Rio de Janeiro. This is the 16th Olympic Games attended by the Israeli national team since 1948. To date, Israel has won seven Olympic medals, including one gold, one silver and five bronze.