Danon and Michal Shahar light a memorial candle at the event
Danon and Michal Shahar light a memorial candle at the event Courtesy

With the Olympic Games set to open in Rio de Janeiro next week, the Israeli Mission to the United Nations on Thursday held the first of its kind memorial event at the UN to honor the Israeli athletes murdered in the attack on the 1972 Munich Olympics.

Michal Shahar, the daughter of slain Olympic shooting coach Kehat Shorr, addressed the gathering.

In his speech at the event, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon said, “The Olympic games should represent hope and peace, and a world without war and hatred. This hope was shattered during the Munich Olympics when terrorists infiltrated the Olympic village and struck at one of the world’s few sources world of unity – athletics.”

The Ambassador also noted, “Today we are lighting the torch that was extinguished in Munich. A torch of hope, which will shine brightly against those who incite to terrorism and violence. We will never let terror win.”

During her remarks, Michal Shahar noted, "The evil and terror that killed my father and the other Israeli athletes has only increased since that terrible day forty-four years ago. The UN, like the Olympics, represents the hope that the nations of the world will work together for a better future. I see the terrible attacks in Israel and around the world, like in Germany recently, and I hope that my words today will encourage all countries to put politics aside, and unite against terrorism."

Ambassadors from around the world, senior UN officials and Jewish community leaders took part in the event which included a special screening of the Oscar-winning film “One Day in September” which won the Academy Award for Best Documentary in 2000.

11 Israeli athletes were murdered by terrorists from the "Black September" organization during the 1972 Olympics.

In 2012, on the 40th anniversary of the massacre, the widows of the two of the Israeli athletes held a long battle to get the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to observe a moment of silence for the 11 at the opening ceremony of London Olympics.

However, the head of the IOC at the time rejected the idea, saying the opening ceremony is “not fit” to remember the Munich Massacre.

This year the eleven Israelis will be honored at a ceremony on August 14 at the Rio City Hall, held by the Israeli Olympic Committee and the Israeli consulate.

The IOC has also announced that a special area in the Olympic Village will be set up to remember all the Olympians who have died, including the Israeli athletes.