June 18, 2008
Soboroff heads effort for ‘Chai’ Maccabiah
(Page 2 - Previous Page)But more important than statistics, logistics and medals are the bonds forged between the world's Jewish athletes and communities, Tiberger said.
"Some 70 percent to 80 percent of the all the athletes will be on their first trip to Israel," he said. "All participants tour Israel extensively and take part in a three-day orientation on Jewish heritage and Israel."
As a symbol of worldwide Jewish solidarity and pride, the Maccabiah is so important to Israel that in 2001 Prime Minister Ariel Sharon bluntly rejected advice to call off the games because of the escalating intifada. If necessary, Sharon vowed, he would assign a security guard to every athlete.
All connected with the 18th Maccabiah hope that an earlier slogan will assume new meaning -- "Two weeks of experience, a lifetime to remember."
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