20th Mac­cabiah Games Open with Spec­tac­u­lar Jerusalem Cer­e­mony

The Jewish Voice - - ISRAEL - By: A7 Staff

Pres­i­dent Reu­ven Rivlin last Thurs­day evening of­fi­cially opened the 20th Mac­cabiah Games, be­ing held this year with the theme of cel­e­brat­ing 50 years of a united Jerusalem.

Also speak­ing at the open­ing cer­e­mony was Prime Min­is­ter Binyamin Ne­tanyahu. The event was at­tended by around 30,000 ath­letes and their sup­port­ers, and saw a pro­ces­sion of 80 na­tional teams from all the coun­tries rep­re­sented at the Games.

“Wel­come to Jerusalem, wel­come to Is­rael. Wel­come home. How great it is to see you all here in Jerusalem – the re­built and free, eter­nal cap­i­tal of Is­rael – for the open­ing of the 20th Mac­cabiah Games,” Rivlin be­gan his re­marks.

“This is the big­gest ever Mac­cabiah since the Games be­gan 85 years ago. Then, in the year 1932, the skies over Europe had al­ready be­gan to darken. And to­day, to­day we stand here, mark­ing the 20th Mac­cabiah Games themed around the 50th an­niver­sary of lib­er­a­tion of Jerusalem,” he noted,

The Pres­i­dent quoted Yosef Yeku­tieli, one of the lead­ers and ini­tia­tors of the Mac­cabiah Games who said the aim of the Games was “to el­e­vate – not just phys­i­cally, but also spir­i­tu­ally”.

“The sport­ing spirit as we feel it, pushes us to break down the bar­ri­ers of the body and soul. It pushes us to break through ex­ist­ing bar­ri­ers. To cre­ate a new re­al­ity. To as­sess the bound­aries, and to each time reach higher, be faster, stronger. This is the same spirit from which came Zion­ism. This is the same spirit from which came the Mac­cabiah. This is the spirit we ex­pect from you also to­day, here at these Games, in the com­pe­ti­tions, on the sports fields, in the swim­ming pools.

I know the in­no­va­tive and brave sport­ing spirit, which spreads its wings and reaches for the sky. In just a few short mo­ments, the adren­a­line and the ela­tion will burst forth, and will fill the tracks and fields of Jerusalem, in Haifa, and across the coun­try, from north to south. To­gether, we will all join in the true fes­ti­val of sport, a fes­ti­val of mind and body.”

Rivlin went on to speak of the mem­ory of the ath­letes who were killed in the tragedy at the 15 Mac­cabiah Games, and of the Is­raeli ath­letes who were mur­dered by ter­ror­ists at the Mu­nich Olympics – some of whom he noted, were Mac­cabiah cham­pi­ons.

“Our hearts are with their fam­i­lies,” he said.

The Pres­i­dent con­cluded by declar­ing the Games open, and wished all the sports­men and women, the many spec­ta­tors in the sta­di­ums and at home “up­lift­ing days, days of fun, en­joy­ment and ten­sion, record-break­ing mo­ments; per­sonal records, na­tional, and in­ter­na­tional records. My dear ath­letes, our land is your land, our home is your home.”

“Con­grat­u­la­tions to all of us, on the open­ing of the 20th Mac­cabiah Games, here in Jerusalem!”

Fire­works at the open­ing cer­e­mony of the 20th Mac­cabiah games in Jerusalem

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.