Maccabiah Games

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The Maccabiah Games is an international Jewish athletic event similar to the Olympics. The Maccabiah is staged in Israel every four years under the auspices of the Maccabi Federation, a part of the Maccabi World Union <ref> The Maccabi movement, started in 1895 and named after Judah Maccabee, is an international Jewish sports, cultural, social, and educational organization. </ref>, and are sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee and World Federation of Sports.


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[edit] History

Originally conceived by Yosef Yekutieli, a fifteen-year-old inspired by the 1912 Stockholm Olympic Games, the Games were first held in 1932 after fourteen years of development by Yekutieli and the Jewish National Fund. The first Games were opened by Tel Aviv Mayor Meir Dizengoff, with almost 400 athletes from 18 countries participating, including over 60 from Arab countries such as Syria and Egypt.

Since 1932, the Games have been held roughly every four years. The third Maccabiah Games, scheduled for 1938, was delayed until 1950 due to the rise of Nazism in Europe and the outbreak of the Second World War.

[edit] Tragedy at the 15th Maccabiah Games

The 1997 Maccabiah Games will be remembered by all its participants, and Jewish people around the world, as the games that were marred by the collapse of a bridge immediately before the Opening Ceremony, causing some athletes to fall into the highly-polluted Yarkon River. On the bridge at the time were athletes marching to enter the Ramat Gan Stadium in Tel Aviv.

Four Australians, Greg Small, Elizabeth Sawicki, Yetty Bennett and Warren Zines, were killed when the bridge collapsed. Scores more were injured.

After the accident, both the Opening Ceremony and the Games themselves continued——albeit with lower enthusiasm than expected——with spectators in the stadium given an announcement that the bridge had collapsed and at least one Australian had been killed.

Many inquests were completed into the collapse of the bridge by both Israeli and Australian authorities with some being considered more beneficial to the situation than others.

[edit] Other Previous Games

The Maccabiah Games have been a quadrennial event since 1957.

[edit] 16th Maccabiah Games

For the 2001 Games, the Opening Ceremony was held in Jerusalem at Teddy Stadium, while the re-building process of the collapsed bridge and investigations into the collapse continued.

It is considered a 'smaller games' for three main reasons: attendance was significantly lower, particularly from the Australians (it sent only about 170 athletes, compared with around 400 in 1997); it was run at the height of the Second Intifada (and straight after the infamous Dolphinarium bombing—the largest of the Intifada—that killed 21 Israelis, mostly high school students); and not all wounds had been healed after the collapse of the bridge.

[edit] 17th Maccabiah Games

For the first time since 1997, the 2005 Maccabiah Games were considered a success. Apart from the usual lack of interest from Israeli society, attendance was back up, and three out of four families of those who died in the 1997 bridge collapse attended. There still were some logistical and organisational issues but nothing too major.

It received the biggest attendance of any Maccabiah Games to date, including more than 900 representatives from the United States, almost 500 from Australia, and more than 2,000 from Israel, bringing the total participants to more than 5,000.

[edit] World Maccabi bodies

Many Jewish schools from all over the world send students who are particularly talented in a sport to Israel to participate in the games.

[edit] Footnotes

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[edit] External links

de:Makkabiade

it:Maccabiadi he:מכביה pl:Olimpiada Machabejska

Maccabiah Games

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