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Moroccan wrestling team to compete in Israeli 1972 Munich massacre memorial tournament

The Moroccan king approved the participation of his nation’s team in the commemoration of the 11 slain Israeli athletes

Illustrative - Wrestling competition at the Maccabiah Games in Israel, July 2022. (Photo: Larry Slater)

Morocco will send a wrestling team to Israel later this month for a tournament that will memorialize the 11 Israeli athletes massacred at the 1972 Munich Olympics.

The Moroccan delegation is expected to include at least eight athletes and 10 others, including high-ranking officials from United World Wrestling, the international body that governs amateur wrestling.

The memorial tournament, slated for Aug. 25-26 in Beersheva, has been titled “The Slavin, Halfen, Weinberg & Gottfreund Memorial,” naming four of the Israeli victims: wrestlers Mark Slavin and Eliezer Halfen, coach Moshe Weinberg and referee Yossef Gottfreund. 

The other seven Israelis murdered in Munich were Ze’ev Friedman, Amitzur Shapira, Kehat Shorr, Andrei Spitzer, Yakov Springer, Yossef Romano and David Mark Berger.

The eight terrorists – affiliated with Palestinian terrorist group Black September, a Fatah party offshoot – prepared for the attack with plans of the Olympic Village, then scaled the wall of the complex and forced themselves into the Israelis’ quarters.

They murdered some of the athletes immediately while taking others hostage, ultimately killing them all. The 1972 Munich Games were the first time Germany hosted the Olympics since 1936, under the Nazi regime.

Brothers Ben and John Peterson, American Olympic gold medalists who competed in Munich, are scheduled to lead a training camp during the memorial tournament. Weinberg’s nephew, Aviram Shmuely, a former Israeli national team member, helped organize the event and will referee some of the matches.

In a letter to the Beersheva tournament organizers, the Moroccan Federation of Wrestling said it had accepted the Israeli invitation “under the guidance of his majesty the King Mohammed VI.” The Moroccan government is covering the team’s expenses.

Moroccan federation president Fouad Meskout, in a letter to the Israel Wrestling Federation, wrote, “May sports always serve world peace and friendliness between nations.”  

The tournament organizers announced that the Moroccan team and the Israeli Wrestling Federation are also set to sign an agreement promoting continued education and joint competitions between the two nations’ athletes.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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