TEL AVIV (Sep. 28)
The largest crowd of people ever to gather in one stadium in the history of modern Israel yesterday afternoon attended the solemn, ceremonious opening of the Third World Maccabiah at Ramath Gan, Tel Aviv suburb.
Some 40,000 spectators cheered as the teams of 17 nations marched past the reviewing stand in a stadium completed barely an hour before the official opening of the Jewish “Olympic” games at 3:30 P.M. local time. The delegations which paraded in the arena were preceded by the national flags of: Argentina, Austria, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Eire, Finland, Great Britain, India, Israel, Libya, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Union of South Africa, and United States.
After the games were officially opened by Israel’s Acting President, Joseph Sprinzak, the stadium was turned over to the Maccabi World Union and the sports organization’s flag was run up the flag mast. The delegations stood at attention while a youthful Maccabi girl recited a poem in honor of the men and women who died in Israel’s war of liberation.
A torch which had been lighted at dawn yesterday at Modiin, site of the beginning of the Maccabi revolt against the Graeco-Syrians over 2,500 years ago, and had been carried by a relay of runners across the country to the stadium was placed on the reviewing platform where it will burn throughout the games. Then, 500 pigeons were released and an Army battery fired 12 salvos in honor of the Twelve Tribes of Israel.
An American team of 43 is participating in the games, including Olympic champions Henry Wittenberg and Frank Spellman. More than 7,500 pounds of foodstuffs for their use has been shipped to Israel by the Zionist Organization of America, which is also presenting the main trophy of the games in the name of its president, Benjamin F. Browdy.