South African Athletes Barred from Maccabiah; Community Protests
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South African Athletes Barred from Maccabiah; Community Protests

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The International Amateur Athletics Federation has told the Maccabi World Council that it cannot accept the participation of South African athletes at the 9th Maccabiah–the Jewish Olympic games–which opens in Israel July 9.

South Africa is barred from most international sports meets because of its apartheid policy. The Maccabiah, however, is an exclusive gathering of Jewish sportsmen and in no way involves color bars or politics. Members of the large South African contingent which was to participate in the 9th Maccabiah and their sponsors are accusing the South Africa Maccabi Council and the Maccabi World Council of knuckling under to the IAAF.

Harry Lampert, a life member of the SA Maccabi Council resigned over the issue. “I and many other Jews are furious at this iniquitous and immoral move,” he said. “The South Africa Maccabi should put all our athletes on the plane and challenge Israel to stop them from competing,” he added.

Arthur Goldman, chairman of the SA Maccabi Council said it was the fault neither of the SA nor the Israel Maccabi that SA team members will not be permitted to compete. He said the Maccabi authorities are under pressure by the world federation. Nevertheless, he said, every effort was being made to get the ban lifted for the Maccabiah.


In Tel Aviv it was reported today that Spanish Jewry will be represented for the first time by a team at the 9th Maccabiah. Their participation was made possible by the opening of a Maccabi branch in Spain, sponsored by the Jewish communities of Madrid and Barcelona who together number about 8000. Spain will send one tennis player, two table tennis players, and a swimmer to the Israel games, accompanied by a local community leader.

Several Latin American communities will be represented by large contingents. Mexico will send nearly 100 Jewish athletes to the Maccabiah. Smaller numbers will come from Brazil and Argentina and a Chilean team of 25 is expected. The size of this year’s team from Italy will be curtailed because of the two-month-old Italian postal strike which brought the drive for contributions to a standstill.

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