Maccabiah 2017: Israel's greatest games ever

Simon Griver reports from the closing ceremony of the biggest and best Maccabiah yet


Under the slogan "Higher, Better, Together," the 20th Maccabiah ended on Monday night with a spectacular closing ceremony at Latrun, midway between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

The event was hosted by international Israel TV star and model Bar Refaeli.

Israeli President Reuven  Rivlin said:  "You return to the 80 countries from which you came but Israel will remain in your hearts and you will remain in ours. I'm sure we will see you all again."

"With 10,000 sports people, this was the biggest, best and most successful Maccabiah ever staged,"

Maccabiah Games chairman Amir Peled told the JC:  "It was thrilling to see thousands of Jews from around the world celebrating through the night at Latrun. Their happiness and enthusiasm was infectious."

Peled said that above and beyond the massive logistics involved, the biggest challenge during the events was the very hot weather with temperatures rising to 35° C on most days of competition in Jerusalem.

 "Despite the heat there were no serious health incidents. We provided extra water and took every precaution to ensure that all the sportspeople returned home safely."

Peled said that there were two sporting highlights that will remain with him in the coming years.

 "The first resulted from Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat's decision to put an ice hockey rink into the Payis Arena. On Saturday night 7,000 people came to the arena to see Canada beat the USA 7-2 in the ice hockey final."

The second highlight for Peled was the 4x100m swimming medley relay at the Wingate Institute in which three US Olympic gold medalists – Anthony Ervin, Lenny Krayzelburg and Jason Lezak set a new Maccabiah record.

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