Sunday, July 17, 2005

From Munich to Sderot: The 'Spitz' Factor

Today, we witnessed once again how Islamic terror has successfully managed to crush the Olympic spirit, and in this particular instance, it was the "Jewish Olympics", formally known as the Maccabiah Games, currently taking place in Israel, of which they managed to make a mockery.

Today, a number of the Maccabiah sporting events that were scheduled to take place in the Negev town of Sderot were cancelled. (For those unfamiliar, the Maccabiah Games occur every 4 years, where Jews from all over the world come to Israel to participate in the 'Jewish Olympics”. This year, there are 7,700 Jews participating in the games).

"According to a Maccabiah spokesman, the decision to cancel competitions scheduled to be held in Sderot were made by police, town and Maccabiah officials after dozens of Qassam rockets were fired at the town in recent days", as reported by an article in Ha’aretz. This comes in the aftermath of the Netanya terror attack, where many of the Maccabiah games are taking place, which killed 5 Jews and wounded dozens more.

As if this example of the Jewish People and state retreating in the face of Islamic terror wasn’t disgraceful enough, we have been served an extra helping of shame to make this all the more difficult to swallow. In what was to be an act of solidarity with the beleaguered Jewish town of Sderot, which has suffered from an onslaught of hundreds of Qassam rockets over the last year, Mark Spitz, the Jewish U.S. Olympian, who at the Munich Olympic Games in 1972 won an astonishing 7 gold medals, was scheduled to give swimming lessons to 100 Jewish children, which as a result of the rocket attacks had to be cancelled.

In what only can only be described as strangely ironic (and perhaps darkly fitting), Mark Spitz, 'Jewish hero" is once again forced to flee from terror - this time, in the Jewish State of Israel. During the Munich Olympics, after the Israeli delegation of athletes was taken hostage by "Palestinian" terrorists under the name of Black September, The U.S. rushed Spitz back home, fearing that his Jewishness made him a potential target (Interestingly enough, in this instance the U.S. had the clarity to recognize that the “Palestinians” were not only a threat to the Israeli athletes, but to Jewish – American ones as well). The Israeli athletes were not as fortunate, and returned to Israel in body bags, courtesy of our "Palestinian" and German friends, in what came to be known as the “Munich Massacre”.

While at the Munich Olympics it could be argued (weakly) that there was little that Israel could have done to save its athletes, what is our excuse today? Sderot is not Munich, and Israel is not Germany. Is there no place in the world where Jewish blood is no longer cheap? Is there no place in the world where Jews are prepared to stand up in the face of her enemies and fight back? Is there no place in the world where Jews can gather in the spirit of Jewish brotherhood and pride without having to fear the specter of Islamic terrorism?

The Maccabiah Games are named after the heroic Maccabim who were able to fight against seemingly insurmountable odds, defeating the Syrian - Greeks (along with their Hellenist, Jewish supporters) with the help of G-d, and who succeeded in restoring Jewish dignity, pride and sovereignty to the Land of Israel. Seemingly, in Israel today, the Maccabim exist only in name, but not in spirit.

Where are you Mattityahu, our High Priest? Where are you Judah the Maccabi, our Jewish warrior? Where are you, Jewish leaders, who can serve as men of spirit, courage and action and lead the Jewish People just as the Maccabim did in the days of old?

The blood of our Jewish brothers and sisters who have been murdered as a result of our weakness cries out for justice! The spirit of the Jewish People which has been trampled for too long cries out to be uplifted! The pride of the Jewish People which has been replaced with Jewish shame cries out to be restored!

Is there no one who can answer their cries?


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