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April 23, 2014 / 23 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Israeli athletes’

Israeli Paralympian Swimmer Wins Bronze Medal

Friday, August 31st, 2012

Israeli Paralympic swimmer Inbal Pezaro finally brought Israel its first medal in London.

Pezaro, 25, took a bronze in the 50-meter freestyle final in the S5 disability swimming class. She finished with 37.89 seconds, coming in respectively behind a Ukranian and a Spanish swimmer.

The athlete, swimming since the age of 5, was paralyzed at birth when her lower limbs suffered complications due to the performance of blood vessels in her spinal cord.

This is Pezaro’s sixth Paralympic medal; she had won three silver medals in Beijing in 2008 and a silver and bronze in the 2004 Athens games.

Israel has known great success at the Paralympics since its athletes made their first appearance at the 1960 games in Rome. In total, Israeli athletes have won more than 330 Paralympic medals, including 113 golds. In 1968, Israel hosted the international event.

JCC Maccabi Games to Hold Worldwide Minute of Silence at Opening Ceremony

Friday, August 10th, 2012

WEST NYACK, NY – Ankie Spitzer will lead a live-streamed, worldwide minute of silence this Sunday in Rockland during the opening ceremonies of the JCC Maccabi Games to honor the 11 members of the Israeli team killed in the terrorist attacks at the 1972 Munich Olympics. The minute of silence will take place between 8:00-9:00 p.m. EDT, Aug. 12, during the live broadcast of the ceremonies. The global community is encouraged to participate in the live stream (http://www.jccrockland.org/maccabi) and show its united support. Spitzer, the widow of murdered fencing coach Andrei Spitzer, has relentlessly fought for a formal commemoration during the Olympics, but the International Olympic Committee (IOC) continues to deny the victim’s families’ requests.

“The actions of the IOC are unconscionable,” says Spitzer. As she recently told an audience in London that included IOC President Jacques Rogge: “Shame on you, IOC…You have forsaken the 11 members of your Olympic family.” She went on to add that, “We will come back until we hear the words you need to say because you owe them…did they [IOC] forget they are supposed to promote peace, brotherhood and fair play?”

Most recently, the IOC refused to hold a minute of silence as part of the opening ceremonies of the London Games. The decision was made despite worldwide pressure that included an online petition from the JCC – with more than 110,000 signatories representing more than 150 countries – and support from governing bodies all around the world.

“Only the IOC can give the surviving family members what they want, and ultimately deserve,” says Steve Gold, past president of the JCC and chair of the Minute of Silence campaign. “But we want them to know that we are behind them, and let the IOC know that we aren’t going away.”

Since 1995, remembering the Munich 11 has been a component of every JCC Maccabi Games: a week-long Olympic-style athletic event that brings together more than 3,500 Jewish teen athletes from around the world to compete and help promote unity and understanding. JCC Rockland took this one step further when it forged a relationship with Spitzer and the families of the victims to help bring attention to and, ultimately help redress this 40-year-old issue. The JCC also chose to dedicate the 2012 Games to the murdered Israeli athletes by hosting a series of 11 events in their memory. The 11th event will be the opening ceremony of the 2012 JCC Maccabi Games that includes this very special minute of silence.

Other leading Jewish groups, including The Jewish Federations of North America, have rallied behind Spitzer, in calling for a minute of silence. “The Jewish Federations of North America stand with the families of the fallen and the JCC in honoring the victims of this terrible tragedy,” says Kathy Manning, chair of the Board of Trustees of The Jewish Federations of North America. “A formal honoring of the slain Israeli Olympians and their families is long overdue, and we fully support efforts like this one to urge the IOC to rectify this painful omission.”

The opening ceremonies of the JCC Maccabi Games will take place at the Eugene Levy Fieldhouse at Rockland Community.

For more information on the minute of silence or to learn more about the Games and JCC Rockland, visit http://www.jccrockland.org/.

Jacques Rogge: Impartial to a Fault

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

This picture of IOC president Jacques Rogge—who refused to permit the minute of silence in commemoration of the 11 Israeli athletes murdered by Palestinian thugs in Munich—was published by Forbes in November of 2011. The caption below reads:

President of the International Olympic Committee Jacques Rogge pauses during a press conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2010. Rogge on Tuesday expressed concern over “obstacles” facing Palestinian athletes, and in veiled criticism of Israel said athletes should be granted free movement regardless of politics.

They also shouldn’t be murdered in their dorms at the Olympic village, if at all possible.

Olympic Opening Ceremonies and the Death Throes of a Civilization

Sunday, July 29th, 2012

I don’t think I was the only American weirded out on Friday by the bizarre “dancing nurses” segment at the opening ceremony for the 2012 London Olympics.  There were lots of children wriggling in hospital beds, and seemingly hundreds of nurses prancing around dressed in the garments of yesteryear.  It wasn’t clear what the artist was trying to say – and then the letters “NHS” burst out in glittering lights on the field.

Oh.  This is about the National Health Service.

[Pause.]

????????????

That realization was paired in my mind with the International Olympic Committee’s refusal to commemorate the 11 Israeli athletes killed by Yasser Arafat’s terrorists in Munich in 1972.  The IOC’s position is that it doesn’t want to “politicize” the games.

That position doesn’t hold up so well considering that 9/11 was commemorated at the opening ceremony of the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City.  In 1996, at the Summer Games in Atlanta, the IOC had a moment of silence at the closing ceremony for the victims of the Olympic Park bombing.

In 2010, at the Winter Games in Vancouver, there was a moment of silence during the opening ceremony for Georgian athlete Nodar Kumartashvili, who had died in an accident on a practice run just before the games began.

So in recent years, the Olympic authorities have commemorated the death of an Olympic athlete and the deaths of others in terrorist attacks, with a moment of silence each time in an opening or closing ceremony.  And guess what?  Last night, in the Olympic stadium, the victims of the 7/7 terrorist bombings in the London subway in 2005 were commemorated as part of the opening ceremony.  Granted, it was hard to catch; a photo montage was projected into the stadium during a lull in the prancing and acrobatics, but there was little narration to call it out.  I didn’t even notice it, and had to be told about it afterward by others who had seen it.

It is jarring to think of passing references being made to the victims of terrorism, sort of as part of the entertainment, during an event-palooza dedicated to performance and revelry.  The reason we usually have authorities solemnly asking for a moment of silence, at a carefully separated, showcased point in the proceedings, is that that’s what is appropriate for commemorating tragedy and sorrow.

But it was clearly important to the British planners to mention their dead from the 2005 terror attack in the opening ceremony.  So they did it.  For forty years, including this Olympics, no one has incorporated a commemoration of the 11 murdered Israeli athletes into an official Olympic ceremony.  Yet Olympic authorities have been assiduous about commemorating others.  Their relentless, determined failure to commemorate the Israelis in the same way is a failure to acknowledge the common humanity of Israeli Jews.

The opening ceremony for the 2012 Olympic Games couldn’t have been more stuffed with politics if it had been a bell pepper.  The Republic of Taiwan was required to march as “Chinese Taipei,” although of course that is not what the Taiwanese call their nation.  There is no nation of Palestine, yet athletes walked under a “Palestinian” flag and were announced as “Palestine.”  The “quirky” performance segment of the ceremony involved numerous references to political events in the history of Great Britain, including, of course, the paroxysm of pagan worship, complete with cavorting women, for the National Health Service.  It was a really, really political night; if a commemoration for the murdered Israeli athletes might have been “political,” that would only have guaranteed that it would fit right in.

Watching the ceremony last night, I had a profound sense of sadness for the hollow revelry.  There was no dignified memorializing of the greatness, uniqueness, and courage of Britain’s past.  There was “irreverent, idiosyncratic” entertainment, and a very long segment of writhing self-abasement before the shibboleth of socialized medicine.

We seemed to be looking last night at a moment frozen in time before a great upheaval, like the last days of lingering sunlight before World War I.  A civilization based on entertainment and ritual political worship is headed for a fall.  But then, a civilization that singles out some humans, like Israeli Jews, to show less care for – less solidarity with – is a weak and unsustainable one.  Nothing else will go right with it.

Members of Congress to Hold Moment of Silence for Munich 11

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

Members of the U.S. House of Representatives will hold a moment of silence for the 11 Israeli athletes and coaches slain by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Munich Olympics.

“We’re going to give one-minute speeches on the House floor and devote a substantial moment of that to silence on Thursday,” Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) said in a conference call with the media on Wednesday. Following that, he and Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) will lead a group of lawmakers to the Capital grounds for another moment of silence.

Engel and Lowey are cosponsors of a bill calling on the International Olympic Committee to hold a moment of silence for the Israelis during Friday evening’s opening ceremonies of the London Games. The bill unanimously passed the House Foreign Affairs Committee, but a vote has yet to be scheduled by the full body. The U.S. Senate unanimously passed a similar resolution.

“On Friday, millions of people around the world will tune in to the Olympics opening ceremony,” Lowey said. “A minute of silence would be a reminder that we must be constantly vigilant against prejudice, hate and intolerance, and it would pay tribute to the Munich 11 and their families.”

President Obama and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, along with several governments around the world, have joined the call for a moment of silence at the opening ceremonies, but the IOC has rejected the request.

“For them not to do a moment of silence, that’s being political because frankly they’re afraid of offending some of the Arab nations,” Engel said, adding later that “If you have this fiction of fraternal bonds and commonality of feeling, then it’s appropriate for the IOC to act without any politics whatsoever. The only reason they haven’t done this in 40 years is because it’s Israeli athletes, and that makes it even more disgraceful.”

Rep. Ted Deutsch (D-Fla.) added on the call, “There is still time for the world to honor these athletes and to unite against terrorism. We can’t allow the 40th anniversary of their murder to pass by, and we can’t allow it to be overshadowed by geopolitics.”

In the past, Olympics officials have attended private Israeli or Jewish ceremonies marking the tragedy, but other than the day after the murders themselves, the IOC has not held a commemoration during the Games for the Munich victims. There was a brief mention of the killings at the close of the 1996 Atlanta Olympics when then-IOC head Juan Antonio Samaranch called for a moment of silence for the victims of a bombing during those Games as well as the slain Israelis.

Founder of London Shomrim Carries Olympic Torch

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

The founder of London’s Shomrim patrol carried the Olympic torch in South London.

Efrayim Goldstein, 23, was one of 187 people who carried the Olympic torch through the city on Monday.

Goldstein wore the official white Olympic uniform and was given a matching yarmulke, according to VIN News. He carried the torch for about a half-mile at 8:30 a.m.

After handing off the torch, Goldstein and a group of fellow torchbearers observed a moment of silence in memory of the 11 Israeli athletes and coaches who were killed by terrorists at the Munich Olympics, according to VIN.

Goldstein is the founder of the Shomrim Safety Patrol and runs a soup kitchen. According to the nomination for Goldstein, he set up seven charities by the time he became 16.

The Moment of Silence Revisited

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

http://haemtza.blogspot.co.il/2012/07/a-moment-of-silence-at-olympics.html

A while back I expressed my doubts about whether a moment of silence at the Summer Olympics was worth all the angst being expressed about it by our own community. I felt then as I do now that there are a lot more important things to concern ourselves with than this.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) decision to not hold a moment of silence on the 40th anniversary of the Munich Massacre of 11 Israeli athletes may have been a poor decision – but it was theirs to make and not particularly anti-Semitic.  Appeals to reconsider led by Ankie Spitzer, widow of slain Olympic athlete, Andre Spitzer have thus far been unsuccessful.

I recall being just about a lone voice for this perspective. I nevertheless still feel that we ought not make a big deal about something that makes us appear as though we are being paranoid… that the only reason the IOC does not want to hold a moment of silence is because it is for Jews and that had this massacre happened to athletes from any other country there surely would be a moment of silence. I do not happen to believe that.

But that doesn’t mean that I don’t admire non-Jews for picking up the cause. I therefore have to admire Bob Costas. From The JewishPress:

One of the best known sportscasters in America may soon make history by defying the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) decree that it would not honor the memory of the murdered 1972 Israeli Olympic team, and conducting an on-air memorial of his own.

Bob Costas, famed NBC sportscaster and regular frontline broadcaster of the Olympic games, told The Hollywood Reporter that he would not stand behind the IOC’s “baffling” decision to deny Israel’s request for a moment of silence to acknowledge the massacre of 11 Israeli athletes and coaches by Palestinian terrorists 40 years ago at the 1972 games in Munich, Germany, and that he would take it upon himself to highlight the injustice during his broadcast of the London games opening ceremonies on July 27.

If officials of the Olympics continue to refuse to honor the victims with a moment of silence, Costas says “I intend to note that the IOC denied the request,” he tells THR. “Many people find that denial more than puzzling but insensitive.  [So] Here’s a minute of silence right now.”

Costas intends to take his stand for the slain Olympians as the Israeli delegation enters the 80,000-seat Olympic Stadium.

I don’t know how many people will be watching the Olympics via NBC’s broadcast. But I suspect it is among the most watched events on broadcast TV. And the opening ceremonies is the most watched part of it. Bob Costas is not Jewish. But he does represent the American spirit.

Americans are a people who care about their fellow man. When they see a group being slighted, they will stand up and say so… and ‘call out’ those who have done so. This is what Bob Costas has done. My hat is certainly off to him.

This is yet another example of why I love this country so much. They truly are a Medinah Shel Chesed…  a country of generous spirit whose credo of tolerance is more than just words.

It seems that in this instance Americans are not alone. 100,000 signatures from all over the country were collected on Change.org  supporting that moment of silence. And 140 members of the Italian parliament signed a letter urging the IOC to have a moment of silence.  Even the President is on board with this, saying through a spokesman, “We absolutely support the campaign for a minute of silence at the Olympics to honor the Israeli athletes killed in Munich.”

It is being reported that full page ads will be placed in major newspapers across the country urging the IOC to observe that moment of silence. In an unusual of moment of true altruism one of them will be accepting it without charge. And there has been a whopping 1.1 million “likes’ on a Facebook page urging people to stop for a moment of silence on the morning of the opening ceremonies.

While a lot of effort is being spent on this issue that I think could be better spent on more important issues – for example to free Yaakov Ostreicher from a Bolivian prison – I can’t help but feel good about a worldwide effort to see this slight to the slain Israeli athletes be corrected. Maybe it isn’t only America. Maybe the rest of the world doesn’t hate us after all.

IOC Adds Insult to Injury: Widows ‘Get’ their Minute of Silence 4 Days Too Soon

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge on Monday went ahead and paid tribute to the 11 Israeli athletes and coaches who were killed in Munich 40 years ago. According to the AP, Rogge lead a “solemn minute of silence in the athletes village.”

Indeed, the AP story eagerly noted that it was “the first time the IOC has honored the slain Israelis in a ceremony inside an Olympic village.”

It’s difficult to articulate just how insulting and callused this empty gesture on the part of the IOC and its president has been.

Ankie Spitzer and Ilana Romano, widows of slain Israeli athletes whose murder and the murders of their teammates have gone unacknowledged for forty years, have been pleading for months now, along with thousands upon thousands who have signed their petition, for the officials at the helm of IOC to act human, to tell the world, just as it is getting together to celebrate the best that humanity has to offer: When athletes are slaughtered in broad day light in the middle of the Olympic games it is a horrible things which we will never forget and never forgive.

Instead, four days before the actual opening ceremony, President Rogge threw these widows a bone.

For months Rogge has rejected calls to hold a moment of silence during Friday’s opening ceremony of the London Games. He kept saying as late as this past Saturday that the opening was not the “appropriate place” to remember the Israeli team members killed by Palestinian gunmen in Munich during the 1972 Olympics.

“We feel that the opening ceremony is an atmosphere that is not fit to remember such a tragic incident,” Rogge said on Saturday.

Perhaps he would have gone for 30 seconds of silence?

I suggest Monday, July 23, 2012, will go down in the annals of Olympic history as Throw the Widow a Bone Day, or simply Bone Day.

On Monday, Rogge strolled over to the Olympic village in London, and in the midst of a quickly assembled crowd of officials, reporters and photographers, announced:

“I would like to start today’s ceremony by honoring the memory of the 11 Israeli Olympians who shared the ideals that have brought us together in this beautiful Olympic Village. The 11 victims of the Munich tragedy believed in that vision. “They came to Munich in the spirit of peace and solidarity. We owe it to them to keep the spirit alive and to remember them.”

And then, like a scene from a Fellini film, President Jacques Rogge bowed his head, and a crowd of 100 IOC executive board members, dignitaries and Olympic athletes and officials stood in silence for a minute.

For absolutely no one and nothing.

Four days before the thing began. Four days before the wonderful statement would have made an actual difference to the millions of viewers across the planet, across the Middle east, where those cowardly murderers were raised and where their crime was designed and financed. In short, four days before these words would require an actual man to say them.

“As the events of 40 years ago remind us, sport is not immune from and cannot cure all the ills of the world,” Rogge said.

Oh, wiser words have not been said by a heartless bureaucrat in some time.

Incidentally, Rogge and the IOC will also honor the murdered Israeli athletes at a private reception in London on Aug. 6.

The IOC will also take part in a ceremony in Germany on the anniversary of the attack on Sept. 5 at the military airfield of Furstenfeldbruck where most of the Israelis were killed.

Then, in March, in a small café in Rome, Rogge and a group of friends will be waiting in silence for their lunch, which should also count for something. In fact, right now, I’ll bet many IOC are sitting in their offices doing stuff while being absolutely silent.

Just as long as it’s not on Friday night at the opening ceremony, because, let’s face it, it can put a damper on the whole humanity happiness thing.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/politics/ioc-adds-insult-to-injury-gives-widows-their-minute-of-silence-4-days-too-soon/2012/07/23/

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