The Reuters global sports blog
The organisers say it is the third-largest sports gathering in the world behind the Olympics and the University Games. You might have thought the world would take notice, but it barely even attracts interest among the vast majority of Israeli sports fans.
The event that was founded in 1932 was originally intended not only for pure sporting ends but as a way for Jews to circumvent immigration restrictions imposed by the British Mandatory rulers of Palestine.
For decades, mainly during times when sport was largely an amateur pursuit, the Maccabiah had merit as a gathering of top athletes and quite a few notables have taken part. The names of swimmer Mark Spitz, tennis player Brad Gilbert and gymnast Mitch Gaylord immediately come to mind as relatively recent top participants and the list of Olympic medallists and champions in big sports is not short.
from AxisMundi Jerusalem:
For decades, the small number of cricket followers in Israel has been trying to clear up what is so far an unsolved mystery: Why the sport never took off in the country after the British lowered the Union Jack on pre-state Israel in 1948.
Cricket, along with golf, is probably the most enduring bequest of the British Empire to its former colonies, but definitely not in the Jewish state.
Not many have welcomed Sweden’s decision to host their first round tie against Israel behind closed doors but it is the sort of situation Andy Ram and his fellow Israelis are fast becoming used to.
Until two weeks ago, Ram, a doubles specialist, could easily slip in and out of a tournament unnoticed but has suddenly had to get used to having an army of bodyguards surrounding him whenever he steps on to a tennis court.
If Israel’s Shahar Peer had been competing in the 1970s, it is likely that her fellow players
would have rallied around her and boycotted this week’s Dubai Championships after she was denied a visa to enter the UAE.
Since the United Arab Emirates has no diplomatic links with Israel, Peer was denied a visa into the country and had to forfeit her place in the Dubai draw.