Bibi should honour Aly Raisman in Israel

By Jerry Gordan, Iconoclast

Aly Raisman, American Jewish Olympic Gold Medalist Honors Munich 11

     My family in Needham, Massachusetts are justly proud of 18 year old US Women’s Gymnast team captain, Aly Raisman, so our her zaydie (grandfather) Marty Raisman and bubbe (grandmother) Susan Faber on her mother Ricky’s side.    Aly Raisman has earned the praise of colleagues and coaches earning the sobriquet of ‘reliable” for her fearless ability to dig in and do amazing turns on the balance beam and especially her floor exercises that earned her both team and individual gold medals, along with the bronze for the balance beam third place finish.

A lot of us were taken with her performances in the floor exercises to the strains of Hava Nagila along with rhythmic clapping.  There was also that dancing Israeli flag that those watching her in the London 2012 Olympics spied in the bleachers above the performance floor.

Raisman endeared herself to viewers when she took her final gold medal earned in the final individual floor performance and placed it around the neck of her Olympics coach.

However, probably the proudest and most touching moment came when she was interviewed following her final gold medal award when she commented about the controversy over the moment of silent for the 11 Israeli athletes slain during the 1972 Munich Olympics by Palestinian Terrorists.  The JTA reported, Raisman says she was for Munich 11 moment of silence”:

    Raisman was speaking to reporters Tuesday following her gold medal performance in the floor exercise.

    “Having that floor music wasn’t intentional,” she said of her floor routine to the music of “Hava Nagila,” the New York Post reported Wednesday. “But the fact it was on the 40th anniversary is special, and winning the gold today means a lot to me. If there had been a moment’s silence, I would have supported it and respected it.”

    A memorial ceremony for the 11 Israeli athletes and coaches murdered in Munich was held Monday in London, organized by the Israeli Embassy in London and the National Olympic Committee of Israel along with the London Jewish community.

Someone who took note of Raisman’s comments and solidarity was Guri Weinberg, son of Moshe Weinberg, one of the 11 Israelis murdered by Palestinian terrorists at the Munich games in 1972. In this Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) interview Weinberg publicly thanks US Olympian Aly Raisman for her statement of solidarity with the Munich 11 just after she received her Gold Medal for gymnastics.

August 9, 2012 | 5 Comments »

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  1. @ Ted Belman:

    I am proud of her because she is openly Jewish and a champion, made all the more relevant because no Israeli athlete won even a single medal.

    That said, based on what her bio states she has little or nothing to do with Israel and her statement of support for Munich was elicited from her in interviews not that she openly campaigned for a memorial ceremony. Fine, even I would not be critical of her on that account but she and her parents have never been to Israel, she never performed in our own competitions where athletes some of the champions competed both for their countries and as Jews. There have also been many non Jewish athletes who have adopted Israel as their country and live and work here after they finish competing. In the link I supplied there were two athletes from America who competed for Israel and lost but in my opinion are more deserving of our support and attention. Maybe more Jewish and some non Jewish athletes will follow their example in the future.

    Tal Brody is one of many Jewish and non Jewish athletes who not only sided with Israel but also had a real and visible impact. They in my opinion are most deserving of our thanks and attention. PR? You joke? Everybody loves a winner, politicians want to use them. Tal Brody; nicknamed Mr. Basketball; born August 30, 1943, in Trenton, New Jersey, United States) is an American-Israeli former basketball player, and current Goodwill Ambassador of Israel, who lives in Israel. Brody was drafted # 12 in the National Basketball Association (NBA) draft, but chose to pass up an NBA career to instead play basketball in Israel. He played on national basketball teams of both the United States and Israel, and served in the armies of both countries.

    A New Jersey All Star basketball player in high school, Brody led his team to an undefeated state championship. In college he was a high-scoring, slick-passing All American and All-Big Ten guard in 1965, while playing for the University of Illinois. That year, he was drafted 12th in the NBA draft. Before the NBA season started, he traveled to Israel where he led the U.S. basketball team to a gold medal in the 1965 Maccabiah Games. Convinced by Moshe Dayan and others to return to Israel to help elevate the country’s basketball team and morale, he passed up his NBA career to instead play basketball in Israel, as the shooting guard and captain of the Israeli Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball team. He was voted Israeli Sportsman of the Year in 1967, and was a member of the European All Star Team.

    In 1977, he led tiny Israel’s basketball team to the European Cup Basketball Championship. Along the way, his team defeated the heavily favored Soviet Red Army team (CSKA Moscow). Brody’s famous remark upon beating the Soviets – “We are on the map! And we are staying on the map – not only in sports, but in everything.” – became a part of Israeli culture. It has been used for decades in various contexts, from political speeches to National Lottery commercials. In 1979 he was awarded the country’s highest civilian honor, the Israel Prize. He was named the University of Illinois “Man of the Year” and inducted into the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 1996, and inducted into the U.S. National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 2011.

  2. @ yamit82:
    Raisman put both her Jewishness and Israel on her sleeve. She took pains to remember publically the Munich Massacre. Many of her supporters attended the event with Israel and the US flags.

    Israel, by inviting her to visit and by honouring her could reap great PR.