TEL AVIV (Jun. 23)
A memorial ceremony was held here yesterday for the 11 Israeli Olympic athletes murdered by Arab terrorists in Munich in 1972. The throng gathered in a park named Gan Hayod Alef in honor of the 11 victims included Israel’s 1976 team which leaves for England today enroute to Canada to participate in the Olympics in Montreal. The families and friends of the dead sportsmen were also present. Amitzur Shapira, whose father, Oz Shapira, died at Munich, kindled a memorial flame at a monument to the victims. The Canadian Ambassador and the West German Charge d’Affaires also attended. Mayor Shlomo Lehat of Tel Aviv was among the speakers.
Aharon Yadlin, Minister of Education and Culture, noted that the International Olympic Committee had rejected Israel’s request to hold a memorial at Montreal. The memorial service held here is intended to draw the attention of the world to the Munich tragedy so that nothing like it will happen again, Yadlin said. He also said that regardless of world tensions and dangers, Israel will continue to participate in every international contest and competition. Israel’s athletes are part of its political struggle and even in the so-called brotherhood of the Olympics, an Israeli finds himself on the front lines, Yadlin observed.
Meanwhile, the Israeli contingent to the Montreal games was significantly reduced in size after public complaints over the large number of non-competing personnel accompanying the team. It was learned today that only essential people–the manager, Olympic committee heads, physician and coaches–will make the trip to Canada.