Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat spoke on Monday evening at a memorial ceremony in London for the 11 Israeli athletes who were murdered by terrorists at the 1972 Munich Olympics.
“For us, the memory of our athletes slain in Munich by Palestinian terrorists, is forever etched in our collective soul,” she said. “For us, our national soul is something we each take personally.
“King Solomon ruled in Israel's capital city, Jerusalem, around the same time the first Olympic Games were first held in ancient Greece. In his wisdom he said: ‘There is a time for everything under the heavens.’
“And allow me to paraphrase: There is a time to speak out, and there is a time to be silent.”
“On the seventeenth of June, 2012, the German magazine, Der Spiegel, reported that German Neo-Nazis were accomplices to the Munich massacre of 1972,” said Livnat. “The report documents how the Palestinian terrorists of ‘Black September’ enjoyed logistical support from local Neo-Nazis.
“This comes as no surprise. There is a line to be drawn from Auschwitz to Munich, and from Munich to Burgas, where Israeli tourists were murdered by terrorists just three weeks ago. It is the murder of Jews simply because they are Jews. Jewish athletes, Jewish tourists, and just plain Jews.”
“There is a difference though,” she emphasized. "The intention of the murderers is the same, but the status of the victims has changed.
“In 1942 there was no Jewish state, and European Jewry was annihilated. It was a time to speak out, but the world was silent.
“In 1972 there was a Jewish state, a state which held the murderers accountable and insisted that justice be done.
“And 40 years later, in 2012, the perpetrators of the Burgas terrorist attack will not escape justice, because in the face of terror, it is never time to be silent. Silence in the face of evil - affords evil victory. And lack of silence for the victims of evil - affords evil a moral victory.”
Livnat added, “The murderers of our athletes at Munich did not understand what the Greeks understood two and a half millennia ago. The fire of the Olympic torch, is intended to illuminate, not to consume.
“The Olympics come to advance human achievement - terrorism comes to negate it. The Olympic spirit comes to celebrate human life - terrorism comes to celebrate death.”
“Those who called on the IOC to hold an official and public moment of silence to honor the memory of Israel's slain athletes understand this,” she said. “President Obama and the United States Senate, the parliaments of Germany, Australia and Canada, understand. Regrettably, their pleas were rejected.
“For that reason, during the speeches at the opening ceremony, I insisted on my own moment of silence. But I was not alone. Millions, all over the world, lovers of sports and lovers of humanity, were with me in silent awe. In my silence, I spoke for them. In deafening silence, we unite with the memory of our eleven athletes.
“They passed us a torch, and with a heavy but confident heart, we pledge to carry the torch forward. And the time for that, is now, and forever,” concluded Livnat.