Ori Sasson, Anthony Irwin, Yarden Jerbi, Moran Samuel, Neta Rivkin, Omri Casspi, and Fabien Gilot will participate in lighting the Maccabiah torch at the opening ceremonies of the 20th Maccabiah. Four Olympic gold medalists will be in attendance at the Maccabiah: Anthony Irwin, Jason Lezak, Lenny Kreizelberg, and Fabien Gilot.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, Chairman of the Maccabi World Movement Yair Hamburger, Chairman of the Maccabiah Amir Peled, together with Director General of the Ministry of Culture and Sport Yossi Sharabi, are hosting this year’s Maccabiah. The 20th Maccabiah, to be held this year marking the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem, will be the largest in the history of the games, with a record number of athletes from 80 countries around the world.
Mayor Nir Barkat notes, “The Maccabiah has returned to its natural home–Jerusalem, the capital of Israel and the country’s capital of sport. As we celebrate 50 years of a reunited Jerusalem, the 20th Maccabiah Games and tens of thousands of athletes and guests who will arrive for the games are a true testament to the strength of our capital. We will continue to develop and promote the city of Jerusalem in all areas so that in the decades to come, we can continue to host the Maccabiah Games in the reunited capital of Israel.”
Director General of the Ministry of Culture and Sport Yossi Sharabi said: “The Ministry of Culture and Sport, headed by Minister Miri Regev, is proud and happy to be at the forefront of government activity that supports, funds, and accompanies the Maccabiah–the most significant social sports enterprise in the State of Israel. The Ministry of Culture and Sport is fully mobilized to ensure the success of the Maccabiah: We have set unprecedented budgets for infrastructure and thus also contributed to the city of Jerusalem, our eternal capital, and its residents.
“The impressive and groundbreaking budget was rooted in the deep belief in the importance of the Maccabiah. The Maccabiah strengthens the connection, solidarity, and understanding between Jewish communities around the world, and it impressively expresses the truth that sport is a social tool and a bridge between people.
“There is nothing like a visit to the State of Israel to help understand the importance of Jewish existence here and gain familiarity with life in the State of Israel. One visit by thousands of Jewish athletes from around the world strengthens connections to the state and to the Jewish world more than a thousand speeches and dozens of pictures ever could. This is the tremendous importance of the Maccabiah and its contribution to the great vision behind the Zionist enterprise.”
Chairman of the Maccabiah Amir Peled said, “The Maccabiah is the most exciting event of the year. The Maccabiah combines all the values in which I believe–Zionism, Judaism, brotherhood, bringing people together, and sports.”
The 20th Maccabiah, marking the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem, is the third-largest sporting event in the world! The central motto of the Maccabiah is: “Eighty countries, one heart.”
Approximately 10,000 athletes from 80 countries throughout the world, including some 2,500 Israeli athletes, will participate in Maccabiah events and compete in 40 different sports in four categories–youth, open, master, and Paralympics.
Additionally, there will be integrated sports events with the general public, such as the Maccabi-Man and an open-water swimming competition, in which thousands of other athletes will participate.
Approximately 20,000 guests from abroad who are expected to arrive in Israel on the occasion of the Maccabiah will bring NIS 350 million into the tourism fund for the two weeks of the Games.
The Maccabiah involves:
- 150,000 guests in more than 30 hotels and guesthouses throughout the country
- The equivalent of 15,000 days of trips to various sites, restaurants, and activities throughout the country
- 4,700 bus rides
- About one million bottles of water
The city of Jerusalem was chosen as the main city to host the 20th Maccabiah events and will open in a spectacular opening ceremony on July 6 at Teddy Stadium. There will be a variety of events and competitions in the city of Jerusalem throughout the games.
About 3,000 athletes will participate in 14 sport facilities across the city. Sports halls have been upgraded and renewed. For the first time, Jerusalem will host hockey games in the new Pais Arena hockey rink. Hockey competitions take place starting on July 5 and the spectacular final will take place on July 15.
For the first time, the city will host athletics competitions in Jerusalem at the Givat Ram Athletic Stadium, which has been upgraded and now hosts national and international competitions. The Kraft Family Sports Campus, which includes two soccer fields and a regulation-size football field, will host games. Soccer games will also be held in Bayit V’Gan and other lots that were established and upgraded in the capital. Volleyball competitions will be held in a variety of facilities and gymnasiums in Jerusalem.
The closing ceremony of the Maccabiah will take place on July 17 in Latrun as a prelude to Israel’s 70th anniversary celebrations.
Dozens of elite athletes will arrive at the Maccabiah, including four Olympic gold medalists.
Anthony Ervin: American Jewish swimmer, Olympic champion in Sydney 2000, Rio de Janeiro 2016, and world champion in 50m freestyle and 100m freestyle at Fukuoka 2001. At the age of 35, Erwin became the oldest swimmer to win a gold medal at the Olympic Games in swimming.
Jason Lezak: American Jewish swimmer, Olympic champion, world champion and a 100m freestyle champion. At the Beijing Olympics in 2008 he won three medals, two of which were gold. He was a member of the world record holding U.S. 4x100m Freestyle relay team with fellow Maccabiah athlete, Garrett Weber-Gale, Michael Phelps, and Cullen Jones. Lezak is also a Maccabiah champion in the 100m Freestyle and he lit the torch for the 18th Maccabiah Games.
Lenny Kreizelberg: American Jewish swimmer, Olympic champion with four gold medals, world champion and world record in 100m backstroke.
Kreizelberg is a Maccabiah champion for 100m backstroke.
Fabien Gilot: French-Jewish swimmer, Olympic champion. Gilot won a silver medal in 4x100m Freestyle relay at the 2008 Olympics, and a gold medal in a 4x100m Freestyle relay at the 2012 London Olympics. Gilot will not compete in the Maccabiah swimming competitions, but will arrive in Israel for the opening ceremony.
In the 20th Maccabiah, there will be competitions across 40 sports, including 2 new sports: lacrosse and bridge. The competitions will take place in all areas of the country, in more than 120 facilities in 68 complexes.
The biggest competition will be soccer, with 1,401 athletes from 20 countries. Swimming is the next-largest sport, with 712 competitors from 34 countries. Tennis competitions will features 537 players from 35 countries; basketball competitions will have 466 basketball players from 13 countries.
One of the most exciting events in Maccabiah is the Maccabi-Man competition, which includes four elements: running a half-marathon, cycling, and swimming in open water (triathlon). In total, 140 athletes from 19 countries will participate.
Paralympic events: basketball, table tennis, and swimming
In honor of the Maccabiah, the sports youth village (HUB) was established between the Sportan and the Congress Garden in the southern outskirts of Haifa. During the Maccabiah Games, some 2,000 youth from around the world will attend. This is equivalent to about 30,000 overnight hotel stays and about 50,000 meals.
During the days of the Maccabiah, youth activities and events will be held at the youth village for Maccabiah athletes and youth from the north of the country.
Over the years, the IDF and the Maccabiah have developed close cooperation. The IDF will host the Maccabiah athletes at its bases and introduce Maccabiah athletes to IDF soldiers, including many lone soldiers.
To learn more, visit www.maccabiah.com.