How My Grandfather Helped In The Olympic Games
Saba was born in 1951 in Tel Aviv and soon after he moved with his parents to Ramat Gan. Saba came from a traditional family and his parents decided to Send him to a religious school, because they thought, that he should learn about the Jewish religion and tradition, they thought that when he turns 18 he will decide if he wants to stay religious or not. Already at an early age, Saba liked to organise various event. The most memorable event that Saba organised was to build a projector, and make a “movie” for all the kids of the neighbourhood. Then he went and built a big box from plywood, put in a very strong lamp which reflected through a mirror on pictures that where screened on a screen, or on the wall, the only problem was that he needed a lens.
He approached his friend who's nickname was Rosa, (short for rosntzwig) and Rosa said that he would “organise” a lens and so he did, he came with a lens. Saba advertised the “movie” amongst the kids in the neighbourhood, and on the day about 20 kids arrived to the panic room (Miklat) in the building, were Saba lived. Because Saba did not really have a “movie” he cut out pictures from foreign magazines in German and English that his mother use to read and he intended to show those pictures as a movie.(not very nice)
Just after the “movie” started there was a big commotion in the entrance to the Miklat, and Rosa’s grandmother was shouting something about how she cannot read…
As it turned out Rosa stole one of the lenses from her reading glasses whitch ended up to be the lens in Saba’s projector. Of course they had to return the lens and apologise, so that was the end of the “movie” but Saba was still happy that he managed to organise a real event.
When it was time for high school, Saba went to ORT which is a technical high school where he studied electronics parallel to the normal subjects in every high school curriculum.
It was a very long day because school started at 8 O’clock in the morning and finished at 4 in the afternoon, then it took about an hour to get home with the bus. At home Saba did his homework and then four times a week in the evening, he went to the Yeshiva to study Talmood, by the time he was 18 he decide not to practice religion, and so he became hilonai.
In the Army Saba did an officers course and became a young officer in a reconacence unit called Sayeret Hagmllim which had Bedouin trackers.
They road on camels and were closed as Bedouins. That’s where he met Saphta.
It was after a special peula were the camel that Saba was riding on hit a land Mine and Saba fell of the camel and broke his back and had to lie in bed for three Months. All this time while Saba was in bed, Saphta looked after him. (I think that’s why he married her J)
When Saba left the Army after 6 years of professional service (KEVA) he did some managerial work in a few work places, and then a few years later after they had 3 children my father Tal, my Aunty Michelle, and Uncle Yoni, Saba and Saphta decided to move to Australia, which was Saphta’s country of birth. Soon after Saba arrived to Australia, he became involved with the Jewish community and he volunteered to various organisations, Saba did the Hebrew radio in Sydney, he was the editor of the Hebrew news paper called Ivriton and then he joined the Sydney branch of Keren Kayemet le,Israel where he was in charge of special fund raising events, one of them was the Green Sunday.
Every Tu Beshvat he organised 300 volunteers to call up every household of the Jewish community in Sydney in order to raise funds for planting trees and forests in the NEGEV the south of Israel.
There were other organizations and events that Saba was involved, while he was in the Keren Kayemet.
Saba became the president of Keren Kayemet in Australia and that’s were the story of the Olympics starts.
In the year 2000 the Olympic games were held in Australia and 2 years before, the heads of the Israeli Olympic committee met my grandfather in Sydney, and was asked to be the Attaché (like an ambassador) to the Israeli Olympic committee, (I.O.C), my grandfather agreed to do it on a volunteer basis.
His job was to Liaise between the I.O.C and the Sydney committee to the Olympic Games (SOCG). He had to learn and had to get familiar with all the administrated aspects of the Olympic games, among his tasks were to learn time tables of the games, to organise the transportation of the equipment and athletes from the Olympic village to the various venues of the game, he also had to be involved in the security for the athletes, special needs of food and any other aspects to make the athletes life in Sydney easier so they can concentrate on their sport subject.
During the 1972 Olympic games in Munich-Germany, 11 Israeli athletes were murdered by a group from “Black SEPTEMBER” witch was part of the P.L.O (The Palestinian Liberation Organisation). That event left a deep scar on the Olympic Games and especially on the Israeli team. For various political reasons the international Olympic committee would not allow any memorial sight or a memorial ceremony in all the games following 1972. My Saba decided to erect a memorial sight and a memorial ceremony during the 2000 Olympic games in Sydney. HE thought to erect the memorial Sight in a safe place so it would not be vandalised yet it will be an official Olympic function. He designed a marble slab with 11 sides; on each side were the names of all 11 athletes who were slimed, an Israeli Basalt-volcanic rock which was brought by saba from the Golan heights in Israel.
Around the memorial sculpture, 11 Cyprus trees were planted as Saba was quoted in the programme accompanying the ceremony “The memorial sight is the shape of extinguished Olympic Torch because for those 11 athletes the Olympic Torch will never burn again”. On the 26 of September 2000 the official ceremony to unveil the memorial was held in the school yard of a Jewish school called Mariah college, more than 800 guests gathered around the sight among them, representatives of other countries like Australia, Germany, United States, Argentina, France and many more. The Israeli sports minister, Matan Vilnahi, was among the guest of honour and spoke in the ceremony. It was the first time since 1972 that an official memorial ceremony was first held during the Olympic Games, and it’s all because of my Saba.
I Had Fun Writing With My Saba