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Quiet prologue to 1972 Munich Olympics

Imagine if this had been the most significant headline about Israel in the 1972 Munich Olympics…

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Israel’s Olympic Team Reprimanded Failed to Attend Memorial Service at Site of Dachau Concentration

JERUSALEM, Sep. 4, 1972 (JTA) –

Israel’s Olympic squad in Munich was sharply reprimanded by Deputy Premier Yigal Allon for failing to attend an inter-faith memorial service on Aug. 25 organized by West German authorities at the site of the Dachau concentration camp, the day before the games began. Only five members of the squad, most of them officials, not athletes, showed up for the ceremonies. Their behavior aroused a public outcry here and among German Jews. A spokesman for the Central Council of Jews in Germany expressed "pained surprise."

As a consequence, the Israeli team organized a special services at Dachau last Friday attended by all but two members of the squad. But Allon, who is in overall charge of Israeli sports matters, told the Cabinet yesterday that it did not atone for their failure to attend the earlier event.

Allon rejected what he termed " lame excuses’ he received in reply to a cable he had sent at the time to the team manager demanding an explanation. But he also rejected demands from some quarters that the town officials be recalled immediately. Allon said he would hold a "clarifying conversation" with the squad leaders when they return from Munich after the games.

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