The 20th Maccabiah, marking the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem, will be the largest in the history of the Games with a record number of athletes from 80 countries around the world.
Jerusalem was chosen as the main city to host the 20th Maccabiah events and will open in a spectacular opening ceremony on Thursday, July 7, at Teddy Stadium. Some 10,000 athletes will compete in 14 sports facilities across the city. For the first time, Jerusalem will host hockey games in the new Pais Arena hockey rink starting on July 5, with the spectacular final on July 15.
For the first time, the city will host athletics competitions in Jerusalem at the Givat Ram Athletic Stadium, which has been upgraded and now hosts national and international meets. The Kraft Family Sports Campus, which includes two soccer fields and a regulation size football field, will also host games. Soccer games will also be held in Bayit VaGan.
The 20th Maccabiah will feature competitions in 40 different sports, including two new additions: lacrosse and bridge. The competitions will take place around the country, in more than 120 facilities in 68 complexes.
The 20th Maccabiah will host four Olympic gold medallists: swimmer Anthony Ervin, USA, Olympic champion in Sydney 2000, Rio de Janeiro 2016, and world champion in 50m freestyle and 100m freestyle at Fukuoka 2001; swimmer Jason Lezak, USA, Beijing Olympics 2008 winner of three medals, two of them gold; swimmer Lenny Kreizelberg, USA, Olympic champion with four gold medals and world record in 100m backstroke: and swimmer Fabien Gilot, France, winner of silver medal in 4x100M Freestyle relay at the 2008 Olympics, and gold medal in 4x100M Freestyle relay at the 2012 London Olympics. Gilot will not compete in the Maccabiah swimming competitions, but will be in Israel for the opening ceremony.
The biggest competition will be soccer, with 1,401 athletes from 20 countries. Swimming is the next largest sport, with 712 competitors from 34 countries. Tennis competitions will features 537 players from 35 countries. Basketball competitions will have 466 basketball players from 13 countries.
One of the most exciting events in Maccabiah will be the triathlon: running a half-marathon, cycling, and swimming in open wate. 140 athletes from 19 countries will participate.
Paralympic events will include basketball, table tennis, and swimming.
A special Kabbalat Shabbat will take place at the Old Train Station of Jerusalem and will be the first of two Shabbat meals hosted by the Maccabiah.
Also on Friday, July 7, a street party in Jerusalem, hosted by the Jerusalem Municipality. Everyone is invited to Ben Yehuda Street, to dance, meet friends, relax and eat the best shawarma and rugellach that the State of Israel has to offer. Live performances will delight you and make everyone jump up and down.
Monday night, July 10, will see the Maccabiah Night Race in Jerusalem. All the Maccabiah competitors are invited to participate in a night race, and choose between 3 heats: 5, 10, and 22 Km. The run will begin at 7:30 PM and take place throughout Jerusalem and end with a big party at the station compound.
On Wednesday, July 12, at 7 PM – Light Party in Haifa. Get ready for an evening filled with lights and dancing! All Maccabiah youth athletes are invited to the Sammy Ofer Stadium in Haifa for a festive party. The Mayumana band and DJ Skazi will make you get up and dance, and the event will feature food, drink and body painting artists who can draw colorful (but temporary) tattoos.
On Thursday, July 13, Urban Street Party in Jaffa. The ancient streets of Jaffa will burst into life and feature open galleries, local artists’ exhibitions and speed-dating events. The party will take place in the Old City of Jaffa, from 6 to 11 PM.
Also on Thursday, July 13: Bar / Bat Mitzvah ceremony at the Western Wall. If you’ve ever dreamed of celebrating your Bar / Bat Mitzvah at the Western Wall, this is the perfect opportunity! It’s a relatively new tradition of the Maccabiah, which allows you to explore your Jewish roots in the ancient and modern capital of the Jewish People, Jerusalem. The Maccabiah organizes two Bar and Bat mitzvah events: the first one on July 13, the second on July 17. Everyone is invited to come and celebrate!
The Maccabiah closing ceremony will take place Monday, July 17, at 7 PM, in Latrun. There will be a huge show, full of rhythm and energyunder the heading of “Higher. Better. Together.”
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, Chairman of the Maccabi World Movement Yair Hamburger, Chairman of the Maccabiah Amir Peled, together with Director General of the Ministry of Culture and Sport Yossi Sharabi, are hosting this year’s Maccabiah.