Roar of Cannon Marks Start of International Maccabiah in Israel
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Roar of Cannon Marks Start of International Maccabiah in Israel

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The Fourth International Maccabiah–the Jewish Olympic Games–opened at Ramath Gan Stadium today to the roar of a battery of cannon. The games were officially declared open by Israel President Itzhak Ben Zvi at 3:30 P.M. after a colorful ceremony.

The ceremony was begun when trumpet blasts from all parts of Israel’s largest outdoor stadium announced the arrival of the President. As Mr. Ben Zvi took his position on the reviewing stand–together with members of the Cabinet, diplomats, leaders in national affairs and world leaders of the Maccabiah–the strains of “Hatikvah” were heard and an audience of over 50,000 persons rose to sing the national anthem.

In a place of honor stood the symbol of the event, the burning torch, lighted in Modiin, birthplace of the Maccabees, which had been brought across the country to the stadium this morning. President Ben Zvi took the salute of 1,000 representative members of Israel’s sports organizations and the 600-odd contestants from 22 other countries, who marched past the reviewing stand. They were preceded by a color guard carrying the flags of the 22 nations. Overhead during the ceremony flew formations of the Israel Air Force.

The 600-man strong foreign contingent was led by the 120 American athletes who will participate in the games. The Americans’ uniform of white shirts and red trousers stood out in the sea of color which flooded the arena this afternoon. Almost half the foreign athletes had arrived on two ships that docked past midnight this morning.

For hours before the games were opened, the roads leading to Ramath Gan, satellite town of Tel Aviv, were choked with cars. Hundreds of policemen lined the roads and were on duty around and in the stadium to direct the huge crowd that overflowed the flag-bedecked ampitheatre.

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