Maccabiah 2013 logoDe 19de Maccabiade is van start gegaan met een indrukwekkende openingsceremonie in het Teddy stadion in Jeruzalem.

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“World’s largest Jewish sporting event kicks off in Jerusalem” – By DANIEL K. EISENBUD

Over 30,000 attend opening ceremony of Maccabiah Games, which PM Netanyahu and President Peres address.

The 19th quadrennial Maccabiah Games started in grand fashion at Teddy Kollek Stadium Thursday night, bolstered by tens of thousands of enthusiastic spectators, and more than 9,000 of the most talented Jewish athletes in the world. …

Also known as the “Jewish Olympics,” the Maccabiah Games is the largest international Jewish athletic competition. This year’s event is considered the biggest of all time, attracting some 30,000 spectators and athletes from over 70 countries.

The opening ceremony – attended by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres and a number of international dignitaries – included the traditional athletes’ march, the lighting of the Maccabiah torch, the swearing-in ceremony led by Israeli athlete Alex Shatilov and live performances by local and internationally renowned artists.

“We have come from different places, but we belong to the same family,” said Peres.

“A family whose face is always turned towards Jerusalem, the eternal capital of our people, the capital of justice and peace.”

In a video message from the United States, President Barack Obama hailed the “unbreakable bond” between the US and Israel. “In that spirit, I want to wish my good friend President Shimon Peres a very happy 90th birthday,” Obama said. “He’s an example of vitality and dedication to all of us, his legacy embodies the essence of these games.”

In his opening remarks, Netanyahu also welcomed the athletes to “Jerusalem, the eternal capital of Israel. “It’s the first time that the Maccabiah is not only opening in Jerusalem, but many of the games are also taking place in Jerusalem, our indivisible capital,” he said. “Year after year, Jews from around the world say, ‘Next year in Jerusalem,’ but today, all of those who came here for the 19th Maccabiah Games can say, ‘This year in Jerusalem,’ Israel’s undivided capital.”

“We are all one nation. We are all the nation of Israel,” Netanyahu added. “The Maccabiah represents the spirit of unity of the Jewish people… Go out, visit Israel, this is your country. I will be very happy if many of you decide to make aliya and become part of the Zionist enterprise. Am Yisrael Hai [The nation of Israel lives].”

Musicians including Rami Kleinstein, one of Israel’s most respected composers, Grammy Award-winning violinist Miri Ben Ari, X-Factor USA finalist Carly Rose Sonenclar, and Canadian-born singer and winner of The Voice-Israel Kathleen Reiter, were among the performers.

Fans in attendance for the 8:00 p.m. opening ceremony expressed pride over the thousands of Jewish athletes from all corners of the globe – including Cuba and Australia – who came to Jerusalem for the prestigious games. ….

Maccabiah opening ceremony 18 july 2013