Thomas Bach
Thomas BachIOC/Greg Marrtin

Thomas Bach, the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), on Saturday announced that he will come to Israel for the first time, to participate in the National Commemoration Ceremony marking 50 years of the Munich Massacre.

In this way, President Thomas Bach responded to the invitation, delivered to him by Yael Arad, the Chairperson of the Olympic committee of Israel, in January this year at the Beijing Winter Olympics. He is invited as Guest of Honor at the National Commemoration Ceremony that will take place in Tel Aviv on September 21.

The last time that a president of the IOC visited Israel was 12 years ago in October 2010.

The German-born Thomas Bach is the ninth president of the International Olympic Committee and is the first Olympic champion to be elected president of the IOC. He is considered a great friend of Israel in the world of sport.

President Bach was the one whose actions led to securing historical justice. It was he who instituted, at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, the long awaited one-minute-silence commemorating the cruel Munich massacre, after 49 years. It was a gesture that moved to tears the families of the 11 victims and heartened the Israeli nation at large.

The Olympic Committee of Israel has organized a series of memorial events in Israel, in honor of the fallen heroes of Munich 1972.

On September 21, there will be, for the first time, a National Commemoration Ceremony with the participation of the President of Israel, Isaac Herzog; the President of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach; the families of the victims; the survivors; Minister of Culture and Sport Hili Tropper (National Unity); the representatives of the Olympic Committee of Israel; Olympic athletes; and other honored guests.

During the month of September, there will be a series of dedication ceremonies naming monuments, sport stadiums, and municipal squares after the names of the cruelly murdered 11 sportsmen, coaches, and judges. Key examples will be the Ramat Hasharon square, the Or Yehuda Stadium, and the memorial events in Bat Yam and in Nof Hagalil.

Yael Arad announced: “In his decision to come to Israel, President Bach expresses the significance to the International Olympic Committee of the memorializing of the 11 members of the Israeli delegation at the Munich Olympics. In this way he also continues his distinguished activities in their commemoration which he started at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games and continued at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony with the one-minute-silence commemoration.”

“Since his election in 2013, President Bach has led countless innovative activities in many fields, has propelled the organization to the forefront and established himself an international and principled leader. I am proud of his decision to join us in Israel for these fateful and important days for Israeli sport.”

President Bach will arrive in Israel on September 19 and stay in Tel Aviv for two and a half days. Besides participating in the central National Commemoration Ceremony, he will also visit Yad VeShem, be a guest of the President of Israel at the President's Residence in Jerusalem, visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, visit the Olympic Experience Museum in Tel Aviv, and also meet with the representatives of the families of the murdered sportsmen and other Israeli Olympic medalists.