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Marking the 42nd Anniversary of the Massacre of 11 Israeli Athletes at the Munich Olympics

As the scourge of terrorism and the resurgence of anti-Semitism once again threaten the citizenry of Israel and Jewish people worldwide, we sadly recall September 5, 1972.

On the 42nd anniversary of the 1972 massacre at the Munich Olympics, the Greater Miami Jewish Federation and its Jewish Community Relations Council join the worldwide Jewish community, the State of Israel and all people of good will in remembering the shocking events in which 11 members of the Israeli Olympic team were murdered.

During the morning of September 5, 1972, eight Black September terrorists, aligned with  the Fatah military wing of the Palestine Liberation Organization, infiltrated apartments in the Olympic Village in Munich housing the Israeli delegation to the Olympics.

Black September was the precursor to other bloody terrorist organizations, including Hamas, Hezbollah, al-Qaeda and ISIS. Its legacy threatens the safety and security of all nations by encouraging the brutal and barbaric murder of civilian men, women and children on a massive and public scale.

Two of the Israeli athletes, Moshe Weinberg and Yossef Romano, were murdered on the spot as they tried to fight the attackers, and nine others were taken hostage. The terrorists demanded the release of 232 Palestinian and non-Arab terrorists held in Israeli prisons and two Red Brigade terrorists in German prisons. After a failed rescue attempt, the affair ended with the deaths of all the Israeli hostages, one German police officer and five of the eight terrorists. The three surviving terrorists were taken into custody, but were released soon after when the German government gave in to the demands of two other Black September hijackers who seized a Lufthansa passenger plane with 20 passengers aboard.

Although the threat of terrorism was hardly a new phenomenon on the world stage, the Munich Olympics massacre marked a new level of audacity by targeting innocent, non-military victims in a high-profile international setting designed to encourage unity and acceptance.

Also, unlike previous terrorist incidents, tragic scenes were captured in global television broadcasts for the entire world to see. As the people of Israel joined the families of the slain athletes in mourning, the global community was awakened to a new age of international terrorism.

In these traumatic and emotional times, framed by rising anti-Semitism in Europe and the war in Israel against Hamas terrorism, our own Miami-Dade Jewish community has been alarmed by a series of chilling and deeply disturbing anti-Semitic acts and expressions of bigotry here at home. As a community whose members are of diverse backgrounds, we must remain united and vigilant in our opposition to all acts of hatred and bigotry, speak out whenever and wherever such acts take place, and serve as a model for the world of how people of many faiths can live in harmony with one another, respectful of our differences and dedicated to the notion that an attack on any individual or institution based upon their belief or religion is an attack upon all of us. 

We encourage community members to keep updated by staying in touch with our Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC), the Greater Miami Jewish Federation’s public policy and advocacy arm, which works in coalition with community partners to monitor and combat anti-Semitism, both locally and globally.  For more information, contact the JCRC at CommunityRelations@gmjf.org or 786.866.8486, or at Facebook.com/jcrc.gmjf

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