Shimon Peres
Photo: GPO

Peres won't attend London Games opening ceremony

President says will miss 2012 Olympics opening ceremony over Sabbath travel issue

President Shimon Peres will not be attending the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games.


A statement released Wednesday said the decision was made due to the president's Sabbath travel issue.


Peres had reportedly asked to be allowed to stay in the Olympic Village to avoid travelling by car on Sabbath. The Olympic Games' organizers refused.


The president's office made the request when it was made clear that the ceremony would extend well beyond sundown Friday.


According to the Independent, Lord Coe, chairman of the London Organizing Committee of the Games (LOCOG), informed Peres' office that rules precluded anyone staying in the Village other than athletes.


Peres with Israel's Olympic Mission (Photo: Haim Tzach)


It was also apparently impossible to find suitable hotel accommodation within walking distance of the stadium.


As a result the President’s office said: "The president decided to cancel his visit and not desecrate Shabbat. The president wishes good luck to the Israeli athletes."


Ayelet Frisch, spokesperson for the president, said that Peres "does not see himself as elevated above others. if there are rules he accepts and understands them."


She said that the problem had been avoided at Beijing four years ago because accommodation had been found two minutes away from where the ceremony was held.


Frisch said there was "no connection whatsoever" between his decision and the separate campaign by Israel for a minute's silence to be held at the opening ceremony to mark the 40th anniversary of the Munich massacre, when Palestinian gunmen killed 11 Israeli athletes during the 1972 Games.



פרסום ראשון: 07.11.12, 23:33
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