JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel handily won the most medals at the 19th Maccabiah Games, which came to a close in Jerusalem.
The games closing ceremony on Tuesday at Teddy Stadium featured some of Israel’s most popular pop music groups, such as Balkan Beat Box and Infected Mushroom. Speakers urged the athletes to consider making Israel their permanent home.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat and Omri Casspi, the first Israeli to play in the National Basketball Association, presented the Most Outstanding Athlete award to American swimmers Andrea Murez, who won five gold medals and two silver, and Garrett Weber-Gale, a former Olympian who earned two gold medals.
Israel finished with 411 medals, including 150 gold, 135 silver and 123 bronze. The host country had 3,000 participating athletes.
The U.S., which had delegation of about 1,200, came in second with 196 medals, including 77 gold, 60 silver and 59 bronze. Canada, Australia and South Africa rounded out the top five countries with the highest medal counts.
Athletes from a record 78 countries participated in 42 sports, as well as Paralympic events over 10 days. Some 150 athletes who participated in the recent Olympic Games competed in the Maccabiah, the quadrennial event known as the Jewish Olympics.