Amid the gaiety at the opening of the Ninth Maccabiah Games at Ramat Gan, near Tel Aviv, Israel on Monday (July 9), a sombre note was struck by memories of the eleven Israeli athletes who were murdered by Arab guerrillas at the last Olympic Games staged in Munich, West Germany last year.
GV Flags of various competing nations
SV Dutch team unloading baggage from bus
MV Canadian and Mexican teams walking in grounds (2 shots)
SV South American teams training for football
MV Members of Italian team seated round outdoor cafe tables
MV United States weightlifter training
CU Koala bear mascot ZOOM to members of Australian team
GV Crowd inside stadium at opening ceremony
GTV President Katzir arrives
GTV Israelis lead opening ceremony march around arena (4 shots)
SV Kindling of eleven torches for Munich victims
GV Athletes on parade in centre of arena
GV Lighting of Maccabiah flame
GV Athletes in arena
Initials ES. 2.21 ES. 2.43
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Background: Amid the gaiety at the opening of the Ninth Maccabiah Games at Ramat Gan, near Tel Aviv, Israel on Monday (July 9), a sombre note was struck by memories of the eleven Israeli athletes who were murdered by Arab guerrillas at the last Olympic Games staged in Munich, West Germany last year.
The Games, popularly dubbed "the Jewish Olympics" are dedicated to the memory of those dead.
A torch was lit for each of the dead athletes and a special prayer was said as part of the opening ceremony. Israeli President Ephraim Katzir officially declared the Games open before a stadium packed with thousands, including Prime Minister Golda Meir, and nearly 2,000 Jewish sportsmen and officials from 27 countries in Europe, Latin America, North America, South Africa and Australia.
Predictably, security was very much in evidence for this, the biggest ever Jewish Games yet staged. For eight days the athletes will pit their abilities and prowess against each other.
The tight cloak of security has, according to a senior police official "hermitically sealed" the area. "We don't want another Munich in Israel" a Maccabiah official said.
As if to emphasis the point, machine-gun toting border police lined a dry moat separating the track from the spectators. This top security extends to more than 40 sports venues which will be used during the Games and also to the competitors' living quarters.
Early on Monday, as part of the opening ceremony, a torch was lit at the village of Modi'in, 50 kilometres (30 miles) from Tel Aviv, home of the Maccabees who 2,000 years ago staged a successful revolt against the Selucids to become a symbol of Jewish heroism and gave their name to the four-yearly Games which began in 1932.
The torch was carried in relays to the Ramat Gan Stadium where US born Israeli Basketball player Tal Brodie lit the flame. He was escorted by two Israeli Munich competitors, runner Esther Shahamorov and walker, Shaul Ladeni.