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London Olympics to mark Munich killings

    A special event to mark the 40th anniversary of the Munich Olympics massacre of Israeli athletes is to be held during the 2012 Olympics in London.

    A new body called the London Olympic Jewish Organising Committee, set up to link the capital's Jewish community with the Games, has held preliminary discussions with the London Organising Committee, the Israeli Olympic Association, and has had an initial meeting with the Mayor of London's office.

    Alex Goldberg, chief executive of the London Jewish Forum, which has helped set up LOJOC, said: "We believe it is important that arguably the worst episode in Olympic history is marked in a most sensitive way.

    "We are liaising with the Israeli Olympic Association, which is representing the families of those who died in the attack and I understand that it will be up to the families to decide ultimately what the commemoration should be.

    "All of this is at a very early stage and everything will have to go before the International Olympic Committee," said Mr Goldberg. "So far, we have had very positive responses."

    LOJOC has been formed initially by the Forum, Maccabi UK and UJIA. Mr Goldberg said it was hoped other communal organisations would join them.

    The new committee will develop a programme of events around the Games for a number of different
    purposes.

    It wants to involve Jewish schools and their communities in meeting Jewish Olympians; the development of welfare, culture and religious services for Jewish athletes in the Olympic Village; a London 2012 Jewish website for visitors to the Games; the long-term legacy for the Jewish community within the five Olympic Boroughs and utilising sports to bring groups together and celebrate the cultural diversity of the city.

    "This was a key platform that won London the bid in the first place," said Mr Goldberg.

    "We know that in Atlanta and Sydney Jewish athletes visited members of the local communities, and we want to offer the same hospitality here for Jews who might be a long way from home."

    The London Olympics Jewish Organising Committee is looking to involve the capital's community in the Games. It is already working with the Games Committee, Government, other communities in the capital and various Olympic Associations from Israel and other countries.

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