Twenieth Maccabiah: 5777
80 Countries – One Heart
Maccabiah was the largest and most successful set of Games with 10,000 athletes participating from 80 countries. For the first time we had participants from Barbados, Cambodia, Cayman Islands, China, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Puerto Rico, Singapore, South Korea, Suriname, Taiwan, Thailand & Vietnam.
Sport tournaments were held at 65 different venues all over Israel with thousands of spectators from Israel and abroad. Jerusalem was the Capital of the Maccabiah and hosted most of the competitions and main events such as the Opening Ceremony and the Gala evening. The most special venue was the Pais Arena in Jerusalem, a basketball arena that was transformed into an Ice Hockey venue. This attracted the largest audience during the hockey finals with more than 7,000 spectators.
The Opening Ceremony was held at Teddy Stadium with a total of 27,000 spectators including the President of Israel, the Prime Minister, the Mayor of Jerusalem, the Minister of Culture and Sport, Ambassadors, Businessmen, the Management of the Movement from Israel and abroad, Donors and Guests. Jerusalem also hosted the Gala evening in honor of the Maccabiah and celebrations for the 50th anniversary of the unification of the city. Other festivities included the Maccabiah Jerusalem half marathon, Kabbalat Shabbat & the Bnei Mitzvah ceremony at the Western Wall, along with tours of its sites and landscapes.
One of the main highlights was the Junior Maccabiah that was hosted for the first time in Haifa.
The city hosted 2,000 junior athletes with warmth and love. The HUB was located at the Sportan (a popular country club in Haifa) and was the center location for youth while not competing. At the HUB there were educational and cultural activities led by Maccabi Tzair Madrichim and other professionals. The Leonardo Hotel's beach became the Maccabiah Beach. There were joint parties held with various youth programs in Haifa, and local businesses in the area provided discounts to all the participants.
, the gold medalist at the Rio Olympics, who also lit the Maccabiah torch at the Opening Ceremony. This Elite Maccabiah team was accompanied by Israeli Olympic medalists Arik Zeevi, Yarden Gerbi, Ori Sasson, Neta Rivkin & our very own Israeli NBA player, Omri Casspi.
The media exposure that the Maccabiah received was unprecedented. The Israeli public came to watch the competitions and the responses on social media networks were overwhelming. The Opening Ceremony broadcast on Channel 2 (largest TV channel in Israel) during prime time received 25% ratings.
The year leading up to the Maccabiah – a variety of events took place all over Israel in various cities such as Jerusalem, Haifa, Netanya, Dimona, Ra'anana, Tel Aviv, and more all in conjunction with local programs from the various municipalities.
Events publicizing the Maccabiah abroad began in December 2016 starting with the launch of the Maccabi Torch relay from the Maccabim Tombs in Modi'in, to the residence of the President of Israel to the Maccabi TO's worldwide.
Avenue in New York, Niagara Falls in Canada, the Sydney Opera House in Australia, Wembely Stadium in London, Table Mountain in South Africa as well as Budapest, Mexico City, Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo and Rio (Brazil), Helsinki (Finland), Peru, Uruguay, Chile, Amsterdam, Perth and Melbourne.
The torch was also carried on a journey through Europe by Jewish cyclists who returned to the historic Maccabiah rally to recruit Jews to the first Maccabiah. The Journey began in England and finished at Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem at the Opening Ceremony.