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Attendees of the Olympic opening ceremony in Tokyo observed a moment of silence on Friday in memory of the 11 Israeli athletes and coaches who were killed by Palestinian terrorists in 1972.
The tribute was the first paid at an Olympic opening ceremony since the attack, which was perpetrated at the summer games in Munich 49 years ago this September.
“We, the Olympic community, also remember all the Olympians and members of our community who have so sadly left us,” an announcer said during the ceremony, continuing, “In particular, we remember those who lost their lives during the Olympic Games.”
“One group still holds a strong place in all our memories and stands for all of those we have lost at the games: the members of the Israel delegation at the Olympic Games Munich 1972,” the announcer said.
On Sept. 5, 1972, terrorists with the Palestinian group Black September entered the Israeli delegation’s Olympic Village lodging in Munich, where they killed two people and took another nine as hostages. The hostages were later killed during a shootout at the airport in Munich, as were five terrorists and a West German policeman.
“The Tokyo Olympics have just opened, but they are already a historic Olympics — after 49 years, on the main stage, at the opening ceremony, the 11 heroes, the victims of the Munich Olympics, were mentioned,” said Yehiel Tropper, Israel’s minister of culture and sport, according to Reuters. “Better late than never.”
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said he welcomed “this important and historic moment” in a tweet.
Widows Ilana Romano and Ankie Spitzer, whose husbands Yossef Romano and Andre Spitzer were killed in the attack, were present in the stadium during the moment of silence and said they couldn’t “stop the tears from flowing.”
“Justice has finally been done for the husbands, fathers, and sons who were murdered in Munich,” they said in a statement.
The opening ceremony on Friday commenced the 18-day Summer Games in Tokyo, which were postponed last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The coronavirus is still disrupting the Tokyo Games, causing spectators to be banned from attending competitions after Japanese officials declared a state of emergency due to the virus.
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Original Author: Jeremy Beaman
Original Location: Olympic opening ceremony honors Israelis killed at 1972 Games