We all know the world’s biggest sporting events, the Olympics, the World Cup and no, not the one you’re thinking… let Israel’s Maccabiah Games begin.
And so we’re hailing the four-yearly Maccabiah which runs from July 14-28, a year later after the Covid hiatus.
With the Games including 10,000 athletes from about 60 countries.
And with five new sports for this year, including wave surfing, climbing, 3×3 basketball motocross and paddle.
Now there are those who will celebrate Britain never, ever, ever being slaves by throwing those who they did enslave a week of games in Birmingham from July 28-August 8.
Onto the Maccabiah Games now and it is an Olympics for Jewish athletes, has run from 1932.
And that’s just a couple of years after the first Empire Games, forerunner of the Commonwealth Games.
It is evident too that the Maccabiah still holds onto its original name.
The name Maccabiah is named for Judah Maccabee, a Jewish leader who defended his country from King Antiochus.
Modi’in, his birthplace, is also the starting location of the torch that lights the flames at the opening ceremony,
Teddy, steady go
So let’s begin and the opening ceremony will take place at Teddy Stadium, Jerusalem.
We can look forward to a crowd of 30,000 with the torches being carried by five athletes.
And we have Tokyo Olympic medalist Avishag Semberg; swimmer Anastasia Gorbenko; Paralympic swimmers, Mark Maliar and Iyad Shalabi, and Jewish-American baseball player Ian Kinsler.
And I know the question you’re asking… yes, the Games’ ceremonial torch will be kindled by Israeli Olympic Medalists Linoy Ashram and Artem Dolgopyat.
Now if you haven’t seen it before then you’ll be glad to know that there’s a world first this year.
Because all the games will be broadcast live all over the world via Pixellot.
And the Maccabiah will also host Paralympic Games in a variety of sports.
And competitions in the ‘Special Needs’ category for athletes with special needs.
How’s that for an opening?
There are some, of course (deluded, I’d say) who can take or leave sports and tune in only for opening ceremonies.
And you won’t be disappointed with this year’s Maccabiah showpiece.
Because the sponsors are telling us that it will be spectacular and exciting.
And we can look forward to it combining a rich artistic performance with hundreds of dancers and pyrotechnics.
Take singer-songwriter Hanan Ben-Ari who will perform the official Maccabiah song, Carnival by Jordan (Jordi) Peleg and Ron Biton.
And the singer of the decade, Eden Ben Zaken, who will be singing an adaptation of Jehoram Gaon’s song, You Will Not Beat Me.
While The Next Star winner Tamir Greenberg will perform the song he wrote and composed to win the competition.
That’s Tell Me Where the Light Goes’, and as well as Maroon 5’s Memories as a salute to the historical sports heroes of the People of Israel.
Now this is all new to us but isn’t that the point of expanding our horizons and one of the great take-aways from any travel.
Tickets can be booked on the Maccabiah website.
Of course, the athletes’ competitions will be the main draw but beyond the events, Israel will go full party for the spectators too.
Because the Maccabiah, in cooperation with the Netanya Municipality will offer for the first time a huge sports complex for the whole family.
It’s all taking place at Poleg Beach from July 12-14 that includes an area for sports competitions.
And there will be activities for children, performances and food trucks with dishes from all over the world.
And, of course, the Maccabiah want to create the next generation of champions so encourage everybody to get involved.
And hence the Maccabiah in Jerusalem night race will be held on July 18.
There will be thousands of runners taking part from all over Israel and the world.
And the race will pass the Science Museum, the Knesset, Hebrew University, the Rose Garden, the Cross Monastery and the Givat Ram Stadium.
With it all accompanied by lighting, music and a very special atmosphere.
And so participation in the race is paid and pre-registration is on the Maccabiah website .
Celebrate the diaspora
Now Israelis, much like Scots and Irish have a diaspora around the world.
And all have enriched the globe with our traditions and added to the general lexicon.
And with the Maccabiah Games at last getting the broader recognition it deserves through this inaugural global broadcast.
We can immerse ourselves in yet more Jewish culture, spectacle and the achievements of Jewish athletes.
Let Israel’s Maccabiah Games begin…
And I suspect as well that they will have a more lyrical way of saying that too.