Fifty years ago this past Monday, 11 Israeli athletes and coaches were murdered at the 1972 Summer Olympic Games in Munich. In the early morning of September. 5, 1972, eight members of the Palestinian terrorist group Black September broke into the Olympic village and killed two members of the Israeli delegation. They took nine others hostage, attempting to bargain for the release of 200 Palestinian prisoners. After a standoff with the German police, the terrorists were able to arrange transportation for themselves and the hostages to a nearby airport. When the German police failed at their ambush attempt, the terrorists killed the Israeli hostages. The police then killed five of the eight Palestinian terrorists; one German police officer was killed. This was known as the “Munich Massacre.”
The world watched in horror (many of you will recall Jim McKay reporting as this was unfolding) as the games were used as a vehicle for the expression of hatred, rather than as an event that brings the world together.
To learn more about how the events unfolded in the eyes of the athletes, please click here. And here is the article reported in the Jewish Telegraphic Agency when it happened in 1972.
The new Israeli Consul General in San Francisco, Ambassador Marco Sermoneta, wrote the following: "Although nothing can make up for the tragic loss of 11 innocent souls, today, 50 years later, we can take solace in knowing that their families are finally receiving some measure of justice by signing an agreement with the German government. We, and they, can find some comfort in the fact that last year, during the 2020 Tokyo Olympic opening ceremony, they at last received a long deserved official recognition with a moment of silence, and hope that this becomes an established practice in the future, because the world must never allow the Munich massacre to fade from memory."
May the memory of those murdered at the 1972 Olympic Games remain a blessing.
In May, nonprofit organizations including synagogues, Jewish day schools, Chabad centers, the Mittleman Jewish Community Center, and other Jewish agencies submitted applications for the highly competitive annual FEMA Nonprofit Security Grant. These grants are invaluable to our community, especially with the current rise of antisemitism across the United States. Sadly, these grants are part of the Department of Homeland Security’s initiative to provide funding for target hardening and other security enhancements, like active threat response and situational awareness training, to facilities at considerable risk of terrorist attacks.
The Department of Homeland Security and FEMA released the awards, and we are thrilled to announce that 5 Jewish organizations in the State of Oregon were successful, receiving $813,423.
None of this could be achieved without the arduous work and dedication of the professional and volunteer leaders from these nonprofit organizations, who put in the hours to help ensure the safety of their communities. The process also requires time and effort from a number of parties aside from the applicant organizations, including our Director of Community Security, Jessica Anderson, who provides guidance and risk assessments to identify areas that need to be target hardened and works closely with facilities to assist in writing, reviewing, and submitting proposals.
Unfortunately, too few Jewish organizations who applied received funding.
Nationally, 52% of the 3,470 applications submitted for Nonprofit Security Grant Program funding in 2022 were approved, a slight improvement over last year. The applications totaled slightly over $447 million in funding requests, well outstripping the $250 million available for the program (In 2021, $180 million was available for 3,361 applications).
As I have shared, Congressional leaders and Jewish community groups are pursuing $360 million in funding for the program in 2023 — which has been the Jewish community’s funding target for multiple years. But the $360 million target would likely still leave many applications unfunded — even if application volume does not rise significantly. Lawmakers and advocates for the program emphasized that this year’s data highlights the need for the 2022 funding increase and the importance of efforts to increase funding to $360 million for 2023 (and perhaps more in future years).
I only wish we did not have to think about security needs.
Please join me for one of the two following virtual sessions to hear an update on the Jewish Federation and our Jewish community. This is also an opportunity for me to hear your thoughts/feedback about our community and to answer any questions you may have.