(Communicated by the Deputy Foreign Minister’s Bureau)
Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon met on Tuesday, 3 July 2012, with the Australian Speaker of Parliament, Mr. Peter Slipper. Mr. Slipper is in Israel for his first visit in his role as Speaker of Parliament. Also at the meeting were Ilana Romano and Ankie Spitzer, the widows of Yosef Romano and Andrei Spitzer, who were murdered by Palestinian terrorists at the Munich Olympic Games in 1972.
DFM Ayalon thanked Mr. Slipper for his personal support and the support of the Australian Parliament for the Just One Minute campaign: "The Israeli people thanks you and the Australian people for your moral and decent decision to hold a minute of silence in memory of the athletes murdered in Munich simply because they were Israelis."
Ilana Romano and Ankie Spitzer also thanked the Australian Speaker and noted that "for 40 years we have walked alone, and it is wonderful that now the Government of Israel as well as other governments around the world are supporting us and understand the injustice that has been done to us. We want to especially mention the Australian government, which was one of the first to call on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to hold a minute of silence. All of this support gives us the strength to continue, because we are no longer alone in our struggle."
Mr. Slipper’s visit comes just one week after the Australian Parliament unanimously passed a resolution calling on the IOC to hold a minute of silence at the opening ceremony of the London Olympic Games to commemorate 40 years since the slaughter of the 11 athletes. After the resolution passed, all of the Parliament members spontaneously stood up for a minute of silence.
Australia was among the first states to express support for holding a minute of silence at the opening ceremony in London at the end of the month. A letter of support on this subject, signed by Australia’s prime minister, head of the opposition and the foreign minister, among others, had been sent earlier to the IOC President Jacques Rogge, after the latter turned down the request to hold a minute of silence.
DFM Ayalon, together with the families of the murdered athletes, has for the last few months been leading a global campaign called "JustOneMinute" in an attempt to reverse the IOC decision not to hold a moment of silence at the Olympic Games opening ceremony. The campaign has aroused great interest among parliaments, international media networks, Jewish organizations and communities around the world, and has won wide-spread support from many states.
Minute of Silence for Munich 11 at 2012 London Olympics – Plea from Students at the Catholic University of America