Who could have imaged that the dream of a 15-year-old Jewish kid would one day become a reality. After the Eretz Israel Soccer Association was founded 85 years later, the Maccabiah games took shape and are still going strong thanks to the ambitions and intense efforts of Joseph Yekutieli. His nonstop lobbying laid the pavement for the organization, which facilitates the worldwide gathering of young Jewish athletes in Israel. With the 20th Maccabiah games coming up this July (2017), we thought we'd take you on an athletic journey through time, starting with the history of the very first gathering and ending in 2017.
The highlights: the U.S. team dominated in track and field, while the Egyptian delegation won every boxing match
The MVPs: Saul Moyal (Egyptian fencer who won top medals in all three categories), Sybil Koff (American track star who won gold in four events: the 100-meter race, high jump, broad jump and women’s triathlon)
The participating countries: Austria, Bulgaria, Great Britain, Danzig, Denmark, Greece, Lebanon, Lithuania, Latvia, Syria, Yugoslavia, Egypt, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Switzerland, Palestine, United States
The numbers: 390 Jewish athletes (including 60 from Arab lands), 18 countries
The stadium: construction of the Maccabi Stadium was completed on the eve of Opening Ceremonies