Smoke Bomb Mars Festive Closing of 13th Maccabiah in Jerusalem

The closing ceremonies of the 13th Maccabiah at the Western Wall were marred by the explosion of a smoke bomb, an incident which police said was probably accidental.

Though three people were hospitalized following the explosion, the ceremonies continued without incident. The ceremony in the Old City was followed by a march through Jerusalem.

The Israeli team marched in victory, having taken first place with a total of 258 medals.

The host country, with by far the largest number of athletes participating in the Jewish Olympic-style tournament, topped its closest rival, the United States, by a comfortable margin.

The Americans, who sent 520 athletes to the quadrennial event, the second largest contingent, collected 199 medals in the seven days of competition. At the last Maccabiah in 1985, they took home 246 medals.

Canada trailed in third place, with a total of 70 medals. Most of the events took place at the Ramat Gan Stadium, near Tel Aviv, though the closing ceremonies were held at the Western Wall.

There had been speculation immediately after the smoke bomb explosion that the bomb had been planted by ultra-Orthodox activists, who had denounced the ceremonies as a desecration of the Jewish religious shrine and threatened violence.

The ultra-Orthodox objected because both men and women participate in the sports events and because Olympic games are the invention of the early Greeks, who were enemies of the Israelites.

An editorial in Hamodia, published by the largely Hasidic party Agudat Yisrael, decried the transformation of Israel’s holiest site into an "Olympic stadium."

But police said it was likely one of their own smoke grenades had detonated.

WINNERS OF MACCABIAH MEDALS.

Country – Total – Gold – Silver – Bronze

Israel – 258 – 97 – 82 – 79

USA – 199 – 74 – 73 – 52

Canada – 70 – 16 – 21 – 33

Brazil – 31 – 15 – 9 – 7

Australia – 29 – 10 – 8 – 1

Britain – 26 – NA – NA – NA

Mexico – 20 – 2 – 5 – 13

World Team A – 18 – 10 – 4 – 4

Hungary – 15 – 4 – 5 – 6

Argentina – 14 – 0 – 7 – 7

France – 10 – 4 – 3 – 3

Holland – 6 – 1 – 1 – 4

Venezuela – 5 – 4 – 0 – 1

Austria – 4 – 0 – 2 – 2

Italy – 4 – 0 – 1 – 3

Panama – 4 – 0 – 4 – 0

Belgium – 3 – 1 – 0 – 2

Sweden – 3 – 2 – 1 – 0

West Germany – 3 – 0 – 1 – 2

World Team B – 3 – 0 – 2 – 1

Chile – 2 – 1 – 0 – 1

Denmark – 2 – 1 – 0 – 1

Lithuania – 2 – 0 – 1 – 1

Ireland – 1 – 0 – 1 – 0

The Maccabiah this year drew more than 4,000 athletes from 44 countries.

After Israel, the United States and Canada, the remaining 41 countries participating placed far behind in the competition for medals. But the totals reflected in large measure the lopsided differences in size between the rival Maccabiah squads.

Some countries sent a handful of athletes, who participated in only a few events.

74 GOLD MEDALS FOR U.S. TEAM

The breakdown of the medals– gold, silver and bronze– was a better gauge of performance. There too, the Israelis surpassed their rivals, but not by so large a margin. They took 97 gold, 82 silver and 79 bronze medals.

The United States ended the games with 74 gold, 73 silver and 52 bronze. The Canadians won 16 gold, 21 silver and 33 bronze.

The 50 athletes from Soviet Lithuania attracted the most attention among the foreign squads, when the games opened at Ramat Gan Stadium on July 3. It was the first time the Soviet Union was represented at a Maccabiah since the contest began in Palestine in 1932.

But in terms of medals, the Lithuanians finished second to last, garnering one silver and one bronze. Last place among the medal winners was occupied by Ireland, with one silver.

There was a category of participants that, for a variety of reasons, was labeled "Rest of the World A" and "Rest of the World B."

They accounted for many of the smaller countries competing, including Paraguay, Costa Rica, South Korea and Hong Kong, which sent one athlete each.

South Africa, with a larger squad, was included because it is banned from international sports competition for its apartheid policies.

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