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After a year’s gap due to the pandemic, the 21st Maccabiah Games have made a smashing opening in Israel with over 10,000 participants from over 60 countries. 

First held in 1932, this edition of the games will be the largest Maccabiah ever held, with more than 30,000 individual competitions across 42 sports. Festivities are set to begin on Thursday evening with the opening ceremony at Teddy Stadium, where United States President Joe Biden will potentially address the crowd.

Source: Israel 21c Photo courtesy of Maccabia

This year, in an effort to connect the wider Israeli public to the competition, the theme is “Sports Celebration in Israel,” said Roy Hessing, Maccabiah CEO. “The reason why we started this sports event is to make the connections between Israel and the Diaspora stronger,” said Hessing.

In consideration of the theme, this time, more than 80 events will be open to the public, said Hessing. He added that the Maccabiah decided to hold events in Israel’s largest sports arenas in order to accommodate more spectators and that many of the popular events, including swimming, motocross, and ice hockey, are already sold out.

Public events and activities include the eight-day “Maccabiah Village” festivities at Netanya’s Poleg Beach, a night run in Jerusalem, a sports and technology fair in Tel Aviv’s velodrome, and a number of parties across the country.

Israel will have the largest delegation, with 1,700 participants, followed by the USA with 1,400 participants, Argentina with 800 participants, and Canada with 700 participants. 

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Rhea Sovani

Author Rhea Sovani

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