No Israeli returned home with a medal in this year’s Summer Olympics, which ended Sunday night in London, but Israel can bask in some reflected glory — reflected in the gold medal in sailing won by New Zealand’s Jo Aleh.
Aleh, 26, is the daughter of dual citizen Israelis-New Zealanders.
The only known Jewish member of New Zealand’s Olympic squad at the London Olympics, Aleh, right, teamed with Olivia Powrie to win the 470 regatta competition, four years after she finished in seventh place at the Beijing Games.
The London Olympics began with great hoopla two weeks ago. The spectacular opening had the Queen escorted by James Bond, wildly dancing nurses and flying Mary Poppins figures. It had Paul McCartney and J.K. Rowling, a Scottish village, a Shakespearean reading, and an Olympic torch that had traveled 8,000 miles in a boat. It had everything, except the one thing it should have had — a minute of silence for the 11 Israeli athletes murdered at the German Olympics 40 years ago.
While there is no excuse for the International Olympic Committee’s decision to deny holding a moment of silence to honor the memory of the 11 Israeli athletes and coaches murdered 40 years ago at the Munich Games, it was thrilling to watch Alexandra (Aly) Raisman, the Jewish teenage gymnast on the U.S. team, perform this week to “Hava Nagila,” the traditional Jewish song of joy, at the London Games.
While the International Olympic Committee (IOC) refused to hold a moment of silence during the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics in honor of the 11 Israeli team members killed by Palestinian terrorists during the 1972 Munich Olympics, the IOC did include a tribute for victims of the 2005 London subway bombing.
It is a comfort to know that on the eve of the XXX Olympiad, which starts Friday night in London, the 11 Israeli Olympic athletes and coaches murdered by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Munich Games will be recalled at memorial services here and around the world.
At 4-feet-10, wearing sports goggles, I stood as the smallest captain the eighth-grade basketball team at Yeshivah of Flatbush ever knew.
Like many young Modern Orthodox boys (and girls), I grew up subsumed by sports. I knew the Beckett Sports Card guidebook better than the Bible. When not watching sports, I spent hours on the court, shooting hook shots or making the perfect John Stockton bounce pass. I cried when my team lost, and celebrated in victories I took no part in.
President Obama joined the campaign for a moment of silence at the London Olympics to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the massacre of 11 Israeli Olympians at the 1972 Olympics.
“We absolutely support the campaign for a minute of silence at the Olympics to honor the Israeli athletes killed in Munich,” National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor told Yahoo News in an email.