Katzir Hopes Many Maccabiah Games Participants Will Return As Olim

President Ephraim Katzir told the International Maccabiah Games Committee IMGC delegates from 17 countries attending a week-long conference in Israel that he hopes many of the 2,000 Jewish athletes who will appear in the 10th Maccabiah Games in Israel July 12-21 “will return to us as new immigrants in the not too distant future.”

Katzir, who hosted the delegation at a reception in the Presidential Residence, also told them “That we are grateful for your help and involvement in this great set of international Jewish games.” Later, at a Knesset luncheon, Avraham Katz, chairman of the Knesset committee on education, culture and sports, told them that “the past Maccabiots have been inspiring events and have served as an encouraging factor for the promotion of aliya to our homeland.”

Culture and Education Minister Aharon Yadlin told the group that “It is our fondest hope and expectation that this country of ours belongs to all Jews wherever they are and the Maccabiah Games symbolize our people.” Noting that questions are constantly raised about whether Jews are a race, religion or culture, Yadlin said; “We are a unique people…We are a universal people in all cultures throughout the world.” He added that “Israel is a wonderful country if you do not read the newspapers. We have faults besides miracles and achievements. We are trying to cope with our mistakes.”

PROBLEMS FACING JEWISH YOUTH

The problems facing Jewish youth in many parts of the world today was a subject of discussion during a meeting of the delegation at the Maccabiah village. Dr. Israel Peled, chairman of the Maccabi World Executive, said that Jewish communities abroad, especially in South America and to some extent South Africa, find themselves involved in a crisis that may not have any direct connection with Jewish Issues but could, nevertheless, hurt the Jewish community.

He urged the training cadres of youth leaders and Jewish leadership generally. He reported that because of its non-partisan nature, the Maccabi movement has become a center of Jewish activities in many countries where Maccabi clubs have been transformed into communal centers where Jewish youths can find their identity in the Jewish spirit and heritage.

Peled reported that efforts are being made, in cooperation with other organizations, to bring teams from Cuba, Iran and Turkey and from several Eastern European countries to Israel for the Maccabiah next summer.

The IMGC elected Robert Rosenberg, of Manhasset, L.I., past president of the United States Committee Sports for Israel to be chairman of finance for the 1977 Maccabiah. Alan Sherman, of Washington, D.C., was elected co-chairman of the Sports Committee. William Steerman was appointed to the Accommodations Committee and Haskell Cohen to the press, television and media committee. Cohen is the sports columnist for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. The IMGC will convene in New York to work out final plans for next summer’s games.

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