Torch Lighting Receives Special Canadian Treatment
The 2017 Maccabiah Games are only three months away and similar to past Maccabiahs, Canada will be represented by more than 600 participants — which represents one of the largest delegations at the Games.
The Maccabiah Games, often referred to as the “Jewish Olympics,” are organized by Maccabi World Union every four years in Israel and have not only become the largest event held in the State of Israel, but also the single largest Jewish gathering in the world.
The upcoming 20th Maccabiah Games will host more than 10,000 athletes representing 80 countries, making it the 3rd largest sporting event in the world, behind only the Summer Olympics and the World University Games, and ahead of the Winter Olympics and Pan-Am Games.
On July 6th, 2017, 40,000 spectators will be watching the delegations march into Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem and the torch of the Games will be lit for the 20th time. Over the years, the Opening Ceremonies of the Games have been attended by the highest-ranking Israeli Government officials, from David Ben Gurion at the third Maccabiah Games, the first Games in the State of Israel, to Shimon Peres and Benjamin Netanyahu in 2013. The torch has been lit by the greatest Jewish athletes of all times, and most recently by Jason Lezak in 2009 and Aly Raisman in 2013.
The official launch of the 20th Maccabiah Games Torch Relay took place this past December at Israel’s President Rubi Rivlin’s home, where Ori Sasson, 2016 Olympic Judo Medalist and a spokesperson for the Maccabiah, and Asaf Yasour, a Junior Paralympic Taekwando athlete, presented President Rivlin with the torch. The emotional ceremony, attended by Nir Barkat the Mayor of Jerusalem, was the start of an international journey in which the torch will travel the world and mark the year of the Games by lighting the flame in Jewish communities, including Amsterdam, Berlin, Budapest, , Johannesburg, London, Mexico City, New York, Rio, Santiago, Sidney, and many more.
The Canadian stops will include Montreal, where it will be lit in partnership with the Jewish Federation of Montreal, and in Toronto, where, Ori Sasson and Josh Binstock will be presenting the torch at the official Yom Ha’atzmaut reception of the Israeli Consulate in Toronto.
Sasson, who presented Israel at the 2016 Summer Olympics, made international headlines when after defeating the Egyptian Judoka in the bronze medal match, his opponent refused to shake his hand. Binstock is a two time Canadian Olympian who represented Canada in beach volleyball in London 2012 and Rio 2016.
Both athletes are Maccabiah participants with Sasson winning a Gold medal in the 18th Maccabiah Games in 2009 and Binstock winning silver medal in indoor Volleyball at the 19th Maccabiah Games. Binstock was also Canada’s flag bearer at the 2013 Games, and will represent Canada again this summer in beach volleyball.
These two elite athletes will be carrying the torch together, each representing sports excellence in their respective sports and countries, symbolizing close Canada-Israel relations, displaying how sports builds bridges and brings people together, and demonstrating a strong, united Diaspora.
For more information on the clinics and to register click HERE.