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Israel to hold ceremony in Tokyo during 2020 Games for victims of 1972 Munich attack

Kyodo

The Olympic Committee of Israel plans to conduct a ceremony at a Tokyo hotel during the 2020 Olympics to honor the 11 Israelis killed by Palestinian guerrillas during the 1972 Munich Olympics, according to its top official.

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach is expected to attend the event on Aug. 2, 2020, along with representatives from the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the central government, the Japanese Olympic Committee and spouses of the 11 victims. At the ceremony, 11 candles will be lit and prayers will be offered.

Memorial services for the Munich victims have been held during the Summer Olympic since the 2000 Sydney games.

“The goal is to ensure this kind of terrorist act does not occur again. This is a reminder, something we must not forget,” said Gilad Lustig, executive director of the Olympic Committee of Israel.

Invitations are to be sent to national Olympic committees attending the Tokyo Games.

“We are pleading with the representatives of Arab nations to strip away the politics from sports and join us,” Lustig said of nations that are politically opposed to Israel.

The attack took place in the Israeli team’s apartments in the athletes’ village. The attack and a botched rescue attempt by German police left 11 coaches, athletes and judges dead in the worst tragedy in Olympic history.

Widows of two of the slain Israelis, Ankie Spitzer and Ilana Romano, have petitioned the IOC to remember the fallen Olympians as a part of the games’ opening ceremonies, but so far that plea has been rejected.

However, just before the start of the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, the IOC held a memorial service in the athletes’ village for those who have died during the Olympics, including the Israeli victims.