Gould celebrates London 2012
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Ambassador Gould and the synchronised swimmers
British Ambassador to Israel, Matthew Gould, hosted Israel's Olympic and Paralympic delegations at his residence on Monday for a festive reception, in the presence of Sports Minister Limor Livnat.
Among the Israeli athletes who came to celebrate the kick-off to London 2012 were world windsurfing champions, Lee Kurzitz and Nimrod Mashiah, Israel's synchronised swimming team, and paralympic athletes.
Mr Gould said: "As ambassador to Israel, as someone who wants the best for Israel, as someone who takes pride in Israel and who represents a government that defines itself firmly as a friend of Israel, I also want to hear Hatikvah played. It is an honour to be judged among the best athletes in the world, and to have the chance to compete for an Olympic gold medal. You are going to a country that is ready for you, waiting for you, and looking forward to welcoming you."
Guests also included Israel's member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Alex Giladi, Yael Arad who won Israel's first Olympic medal exactly 20 years ago, and former Olympic swimmer Yoav Brook.
Israel's deputy foreign minister, Danny Ayalon, has formally asked the International Olympic Committee to honour, with a minute's silence, the Israeli team members killed by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Munich Games.
Efraim Zinger, secretary-general of Israel's Olympic Committee, said the IOC had ignored his request to hold an official memorial at the games, as it has in previous years. He said the Israeli delegation plans to observe a private ceremony, and that IOC president Jacques Rogge is expected to attend.