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Rio pays tribute to 11 Israelis murdered in ’72 Munich Olympics

Under the auspices of the International Olympic Committee, Brazilian senior officials join sports activists from Israel and elsewhere at a commemoration of the 11 Israeli victims of the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre.

The Israeli and Brazilian Olympic committees and members of the local Jewish community attend the event Sunday evening at Rio City Hall.

“What happened in 1972 was one of the most lamentable episodes in the history of the Olympic Games, when fanaticism and intolerance [converged in a] deplorable act of terrorism,” Brazil’s foreign minister, Jose Serra, said on behalf of President Michel Temer. “I believe the IOC, in all these years, hadn’t held the homage it deserved.”

Israel’s most senior representative to the games, Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev, says terrorism “does not differentiate [between] people” and reaches everyone.

“When we fight against terror, we look for peace. We still see discrimination against the Israeli athletes,” she says. “There are countries that deny visas to competitors. We know that mixing sports and politics is against the IOC protocol and contrary to the Olympic spirit. Sport must bring people together.”

Unlike previous Olympic commemorations dealing with the 1972 massacre, Sunday’s event is entirely devoted to the murdered Israelis. A previous homage was held August 4 at a memorial site in the Olympic Village, where not only the Israelis were honored but also four others who were killed during Olympic Games.

— JTA

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