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United Synagogue Backs Campaigns for Munich 11

The President of the United Synagogue, Stephen Pack, has given his backing to the Just One Minute Campaign for a minute’s silence in memory of the Munich 11 at the London Olympics 2012.

Commenting, Stephen Pack said: “As we commence the excitement of the London Olympics 2012, it is appropriate to remember with sadness the tragic events of the Munich Olympics 1972 when 11 Israeli contestants were murdered. The United Synagogue is mindful of its responsibility to show that we identify with the bereaved families by supporting this gesture of silence."

‘Just One Minute’ was launched by Ankie Spitzer, widow of the Israeli Fencing Coach Andrei Spitzer, one of 11 members of the Israeli Olympic Delegation at the 1972 Munich Olympics who were taken hostage and then brutally killed by Palestinian terrorists.

In partnership with the JCC (Jewish Community Centre) Rockland of New York and backed by Israeli President Shimon Peres, Mrs Spitzer launched a petition for a minute’s silence at the Olympic Games in London addressed to President of the IOC (International Olympic Committee), Jacques Rogge. Over 99,000 people have signed the petition and the campaign has received public backing from many Governments and leading figures across the world including the United States, Canada, Australia, Italy and most notably the German Parliament.

The German Foreign minister wrote a letter to the IOC President saying;

"This tragic terrorist attack in my country was directed not only at the Israeli Olympic team. It was also an attack on the Olympic Games and the Olympic idea of promoting peace and friendship among the nations.  I appeal to you to hold a minute's silence in memory of the victims of the attack at the 1972 Olympic Games. A moment's pause at an appropriate time during the Summer Olympic Games in London, fourty years after Munich, would be a humanitarian gesture and a fitting way to send the message that violence and terror are incompatible with the Olympic idea."

Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister, Danny Ayalon has taken a very proactive stance on the Just One Minute campaign by using social media and his government position to urge foreign leaders and dignitaries to back the campaign.

Although it currently seems that there will not be an official Minute of Silence to mark the Munich 11, a number of local initiatives have been organised by the Jewish Community in the UK.

These include a commemoration ceremony at the Guildhall on August 6th organised by the Israeli Embassy, a special Kaddish prayer by the Chief Rabbi to be said across synagogues on the Shabbat of the opening ceremony and a minute silence and short service organised by the ZF for the morning of the opening ceremony.

For more details on the Just One Minute campaign, click here or sign the petition here. To read the story of the Munich 11 click here.

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