The victory by a marathon team has a special emotional resonance in Israel
Israel’s men’s running team clinched a gold medal in the team marathon at the European Championships held in the German city of Munich, 50 years after the city saw a terrorist massacre that claimed the lives of 11 Israeli Olympians.
The winning team comprised Marhu Teferi, Gashau Ayale, Omer Ramon, Yimer Getahun and Girmaw Amare; with the exception of Ramon, all the athletes are Ethiopian Israelis.
The victory has a special emotional resonance in Israel, where the tragic events of five decade ago still occupy a fundamental place in the national consciousness, and a controversy regarding the compensation owed by Germany to the victims’ family members still lingers.
On September 5, 1972, eight gunmen broke into the Israeli team’s lodgings at the Olympic village, shooting dead two and taking nine Israeli athletes hostage, threatening to kill them unless 232 Palestinian prisoners were released.
West German police responded with a bungled rescue operation in which all nine hostages were killed, along with five of the eight terrorists and a German police officer.
Last week the victims’ families said they refused a new offer of compensation by Germany and will boycott commemorations marking the 50th anniversary of the tragedy.