12th Maccabiah Games Begin

Some 50,000 persons are expected in Ramat Gan Stadium tonight to witness the colorful opening ceremonies of the 12th Maccabiah Games, scheduled to run through July 25. Some 4,000 athletes from 39 countries will participate in the Jewish olympic contests.

The central theme of the two hour program scheduled for tonight is the ingathering of the 12 tribes of Israel. The program is to include a 30 minute show featuring 1,000 performers dancing, singing and wearing costumes from Yemen, Morocco, Ethiopia, the United States, Israel and other cultures which have gone into the Israeli melting pot.

A gymnastic display will be staged by 2,000 youths from the Young Maccabi Youth Movement, and parachutists will jump into the center of the stadium before the final fireworks display. President Chaim Herzog, who in his youth was a Maccabi boxing champion in his native Ireland, will declare the game officially open.

The Maccabi torch will be carried into the stadium by the 1972 Olympic Games seven gold medallist Mark Spitz, accompanied by the 13 year old daughters of Amitzur Shapira, Yosef Romano and Andrie Spitzer, three of the II Israeli athletes and coaches on the 1972 Israeli Olympic team who were killed by Black September terrorists in Munich.

Spitz, whose participation in this years Maccabiah was kept a close secret until last week, made his international swimming debut at the seventh Maccabiah in 1965 and went on from there to the United States Olympic Team and his world shattering Munich Games victories.

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