Begin Urges Communist States to Let Their Jewish Athletes Compete in Maccabiah Games

Premier-designate Menachem Begin has called on the East European Communist bloc countries to allow their Jewish athletes to come to Israel to participate in the 10th Maccabiah Games which open here next month. His appeal was contained in a letter to Israel Peled, Mayor of Ramat Gan, who is chairman of the International Maccabiah Games Committee. Peled read the letter to foreign newsmen at a press conference today.

Begin said that if the East European governments accepted his proposal they would prove that despite ideological and other basic differences with Israel “there is still something which can unite humanity and this is the noble spirit of sport.” Begin also said in his letter to Peled, “We look forward to the 10th Maccabiah in the hope that it will induce an expression of nationalism in our people.” He called on Jews all over the world “to assit the organizers of the enterprise and to take part in it in order to deepen and strengthen the true sporting spirit of our Jewish youth.”

Peled stressed that the 10th Maccabiah will be the largest ever held. He said that some 2800 Jewish athletes from 34 countries would participate. The U.S. will send the largest contingent, consisting of 406 athletes and Israel will be second with 400 participants. There will be 162 from Brazil, 142 from South Africa, 125 from Australia, 118 from Italy, 110 from the United Kingdom, 102 from Mexico and 100 from France.

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