Jerusalem, Israel —- July 8, 2009 …… Known as the Jewish Olympics, the 18th Maccabiah kicks off in just under a week as Israel plays host to more than 10,000 athletes and 20,000 tourists and supporters from 60 countries.
As the world’s third largest sports event after the Olympics, the Maccabiah Games plays host to 3000 junior Maccabiah athletes, aged 15 -18; 5,000 open athletes, 2,000 masters and Paralympics. In addition to the visitors, Israel will itself be fielding a team of more than 2.000 athletes.
This “Dream Team” of the Diaspora-Israel partnership, the Maccabiah, held every four years, injects more than $100,000,000 into Israel’s economy on an investment of $23,000,000 derived largely from private Israel and Diaspora donors, commercial sponsors, the Government of Israel and municipal authorities.
The Maccabiah Games will accommodate athletes in 40 hotels, see the serving of more than 450,000 kosher meals, the consumption of 1,500,000 quarts of mineral water, and 200,000 “meals-to-go” and contestant will be moved around the country in 250 shuttle buses every day.
The Mission of the 18th Maccabiah in Israel has been summed up as follows: to celebrate Worldwide Jewish Fellowship, Pride, Strength and Solidarity in a massed and exciting International-level Sports Festival Event in Israel, showcasing the Value of Sports to the Jewish People. There is no other event or organization in Israel which achieves anything comparable:
According to Nirit Harel French, Executive Director, North America, Maccabi World Union, “The Maccabiah brings more Jews into significant personal contact with our identity, culture, history, heritage and traditions than any other single event.
“It maintains Israel as an International Venue, showcasing Israel as a land of freedom, culture, sport and democracy, giving the lie to the malevolent political ‘Ban-and-Boycott Israel’ campaigns.”
Sports for which competitors will be going for Gold include: artistic gymnastics, badminton, baseball, basketball, beach volleyball, bridge, cricket, chess, fencing, golf, gymnastics, handball, half-marathon, field hockey, judo, karate, netball, lawn bowls, rowing, rugby, squash, soccer, softball, swimming, table-tennis, taekwondo, tennis, triathlon, track and field, ten-pin bowling, volleyball, water polo, wrestling and windsurfing.
The 18th Maccabiah Games will be utilizing powerful Web 2.0 social networking to connect in real time with millions in Israel and worldwide. There are Twitter channels: wmu, maccabi, israelmaccabiah and #maccabiah and two official Facebook groups.
A state of the art Web 2.0 Maccabiah Web site is expected to be launched within the next 48 hours.
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