Embracing World Jewry through the Sports

No politics, no religion, only lots of sports for all ages, friendships and getting to know Israel are the factors of the Maccabiah Games.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has decided that in 2016, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, will host XXXI Olympiad. In 2017 Israel will host the 20th Jewish Olympics, the Maccabiah Games.

In 1932, Yossef Yekutieli’s vision came to life, when the first Maccabiah Games opened in Israel and took place in Tel Aviv. The Games, the first ever, were held during the British Mandate of Palestine, and were opened by then Tel Aviv Mayor Meir Dizengoff, who rode through the streets of Tel Aviv on a white horse. The opening ceremony witnessed the release of 120 carrier pigeons, 10 pigeons for each of the 12 tribes of Israel, their mission was to send to the world the news of the opening of the first Maccabiah games and that the Jews are back in their homeland and are taking on sports and fun. Almost 400 athletes from 18 countries participated in the first Maccabiah games including over 60 athletes from Arab countries such as Syria and Egypt.

Yosef Yekutiely - the initiator of the Maccabiah-photo World Maccabi
Yosef Yekutiely – the initiator of the Maccabiah-photo World Maccabi
Maccabiah 1932 Logo
Maccabiah 1932 Logo
1st_Maccabiah opening ceremony
1st_Maccabiah opening ceremony
Jerusalem's delegation to the 1st Maccabiah.
Jerusalem’s delegation to the 1st Maccabiah.

In 2013, 9,000 athletes from 75 countries participated in the Maccabiah in a large variety of sports. The wishful goal for 2017 is to see at the Games 10,000 participating athletes from 90 countries.

In order to arrange a successful games event, the time to get organized began last week when a group of Zionist sports enthusiasts held a meeting at the lavish home of Ron and Zohar Azarkman, in Los Angeles, with Eyal Tiberger Executive Director, Maccabi World Union, Leo-Dan Bensky, President, Maccabi World Union from Helsinki, Finland – whereby Maccabi Club Finland is the oldest in the world, since 1906, that was active even in war times, Macabi Carasso, Maccabiah Ambassador–at-large and Steve Soboroff, Maccabi Los Angeles Chairman a member of the Committee of 18 of Los Angeles.

R-Host Ron Azarkman, Eyal and wife Eti Tiberger, Hostess Zohar Azarkman, Macabi Carasso-Photo Orly Halevy
R-Host Ron Azarkman, Eyal and wife Eti Tiberger, Hostess Zohar Azarkman, Macabi Carasso-Photo Orly Halevy

The Maccabiah Games are the largest Jewish mingling and get together happening the world over. No politics, no war business, no animosity involved; it is simply a unity conference through the sports. It is the flagship event of the Maccabi World Union, listed the 3rd world event in the sports.

The Maccabi organization is proud of its 450 active clubs around the world, in 64 countries. It is a Jewish alliance and where there is Maccabi, there are Friends.

No participant stays behind

The Maccabi World Union (MWU) guarantees that no one stays behind if one wants to partake in the games. Since 1906, for 108 years no one had to stay away from the games because there was no money to allocate for his or her participation. There is no limit of what we, Jews, can all do if we have the wish and will.

In the upcoming 2017 Games, the goal is to do more than ever before because Israel is under fierce attack from all sides, in particularly from the media and of course from her reason enemies of no reason. The good news is that Israel’s foes fear the Diaspora’s power, because they know the Jewish Nation is a strongly linked network in which Maccabi is one of its strongest links.

Call for action appeal

Sports is the most popular pass time in the world; it is fun, it is adrenaline driven and it is prizes and recognition’s benefactor. For the next two years the Maccabiah Games organizers will tirelessly work to appeal to world Jewry and sports’ organization to help, in any way possible, to strengthen Israel and the entire Jewish Nation through the sports.

Financing the Games is costly, remember, no Jew wishing to participate will be turned away. In return, the Maccabiah Games participants will discover Israel as they have never done before, become part of it as well as a stronger link in Jewish unity, while becoming a link in the longevity of the Jewish People and their homeland, the State of Israel.

One can attach many clichés to the title of this article, all amount to one, ‘Unity is Strength’.

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About the Author
Nurit is an advocate for Jews, Israel, the United States and the Free World in general and sees Israel and the United States, equally, as the last two forts of true democratic freedom. Since 2006, she has been writing about events in these two countries. From Southern California, Nurit believes that if you stand for nothing, you will fall for anything.