July 13, 2009
Maccabiah opening ceremony set
Participants in the opening ceremony of the 18th Maccabiah Games will not wear solidarity ribbons for kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit.
Monday night’s ceremony is being held a day after the start of sports competitions throughout Israel.
Activists working for the release of Shalit had tried at the last minute to have every Maccabiah participant wear a yellow ribbon at the ceremony in a call for Shalit’s release. The large American and British delegations had agreed to the idea, but the organizing committee decided not to sign on to the initiative, according to Ha’aretz.
“With all due respect, we can’t take a ceremony that we’ve worked on for the past two weeks and change it to fit what the Shalit forum wants,” Yaron Michaeli, spokesman for the Maccabiah’s organizing committee, told Ha’aretz. He said Shalit would be mentioned in the opening address.
Participants may wear the ribbons on their own.
Meanwhile, the Jerusalem Post reported Monday that only half of Israel’s 2,000-member team would march in the opening ceremony due to space constraints.