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Maccabiah to Drop National Flags to Symbolize Unity of Jewish People

The International Maccabiah Games Committee approved a resolution at its closing session last Friday which calls for the elimination of the display of national flags from all future Maccabiah Games, thereby breaking a tradition begun in 1932 at the first set of games.

Michael Kevehazi, chairman of the organizing Committee for the games, indicated that the action was taken in order to accentuate the fact that the 12th Maccabiah Games, due to open at the refurbished Ramat Gan stadium on July 15, is to symbolize the unity of the Jewish people.

“We are getting rid of national flags because they are a symbol of the separation of Israel and our people in the diaspora,” Kevehazi said. He announced that the theme of the upcoming games will be “The Gathering of the 12 Tribes.”

The Maccabiah Games are recognized by the International Olympic Committee as one of that group’s regional set of games. Kevehazi said that the ICC has a strong lobby calling for similar action — the elimination of all national flags at future Olympic Games — because such flags, he said, are a part of the negative nationalistic aspect of the contest.

Ten members of the United States Committee Sports for Israel, sponsor of the American Maccabiah delegation, attended various meetings during the five day session here. An expected 550 persons will make up the U.S. Maccabiah team and will require financing amounting to $1.65 million.

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