The Maccabiah Games are a series of athletic events held in Israel, usually every four years to mirror the traditional international Olympic Games. The Maccabiah Games were established in1932, primarily to provide a forum for Jewish athletes who were not admitted to the OlympicGames due to religious discrimination.
According to Raanan Katz, who competed in 1997, theGames now help to promote Israeli unity and to further various Israeli and Jewish causes in the regional and international press. Due to the Maccabiah Games’ competitive nature and large-scale participation, they receive extensive international press coverage. Like the Olympics, the Maccabiah Games have several divisions: Masters for professional and semiprofessional athletes, Juniors for younger competitors, and Disabled for athletes competing with physical and mental challenges.
Raanan Katz, real estate developer and owner of RK Centers, adds that the Games also include a division for Israeli veterans, in which they compete after serving in the Israel Defense Forces.The Maccabiah Games include events in which competition reaches a world-class level, with many athletes going on to medal in the Olympic Games. The Maccabiah Games have steadily increased in popularity over the 80 years since inception, with the 2009 Games featuring delegations from more than 50 countries worldwide.