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The Daily TIP: 10,000 Athletes From 80 Countries Arrive in Jerusalem for Maccabiah Games

Posted by Tip Staff - July 10, 2017

10,000 Athletes From 80 Countries Arrive in Jerusalem for Maccabiah Games
Netanyahu, Putin Discuss Syrian Crisis, Areas of Cooperation
Israel Slams UNESCO Vote Declaring Hebron a Palestinian Historical Site
Susan Sarandon Praises Israeli NGO’s Efforts to Help Refugees in Europe

10,000 Athletes From 80 Countries Arrive in Jerusalem for Maccabiah Games

The 20th Maccabiah Games, in which a record 10,000 athletes from 80 countries will be competing in 43 sports, have opened with a spectacular ceremony in Jerusalem on Thursday.

The capital’s Teddy Stadium hosted about 10,000 Jewish and Israeli athletes and tens of thousands of fans that came together to celebrate athleticism, Judaism, and Zionism during the 50th year of Jerusalem’s reunification, The Jerusalem Post reported.

Speaking at the ceremony, President Reuven Rivlin said, “It’s so great to see you here in Jerusalem, Israel’s capital city, rebuilt and free, at the opening of the 20th Maccabiah Games.” He continued, “Beloved athletes, our country is your country. Our home is your home.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu then addressed the athletes, saying, "We are all one people. The Maccabiah is a game for the Maccabees... the Maccabees liberated our land against all others."

The 20th Maccabiah Games are the world’s third-largest sporting event, dubbed the “Jewish Olympics." Until the closing ceremony on July 18, athletes will compete in four Maccabiah divisions---Junior, Masters, Open, and Paralympics---and take part in dozens of different sports, including swimming, tennis, and the most popular Maccabiah sport, soccer.

Ronald, the 17-year-old son of Brazilian soccer legend Ronaldo, will also compete in the Games as a member of Brazil’s Under 18 soccer team. Ronald, who is not Jewish, is also a member of Sao Paolo’s Hebraica, a group popular across South America that serves as a cross between a Jewish community center and a country club.

Netanyahu, Putin Discuss Syrian Crisis, Areas of Cooperation

Israel’s prime minister discussed the situation in Syria with the president of Russia on Thursday in a scheduled telephone call.

The Kremlin issued a statement after the conversation and said that “Mr Putin and Mr Netanyahu continued their exchange of opinions on topical issues of Russia-Israel cooperation” and “discussed the Middle East settlement and the situation in Syria."

The two leaders have held regular phonecalls over the last couple of years, since they established new protocols and a de-confliction mechanism for operations on the Syrian border.

Thursday’s call followed extensive media reports, most recently in The Times, that Israel has requested the creation of a security buffer zone in Syria, extending 30 miles from the Israeli-Syrian border in the Golan Heights. Israel’s security establishment remains concerned about Hezbollah and other Iranian-backed militias establishing themselves in the area, from which they could attack Israel.

Russian and U.S. representatives are due to meet in Amman to discuss the situation in southern Syria and Israel is reported to be attending.

U.S. President Donald Trump took the opportunity to criticize Russia’s involvement in the Syria conflict ahead of his meeting with Putin at the G20 summit in Hamburg on Friday. Trump urged Russia to end “its support for hostile regimes, including Syria and Iran, and to instead join the community of responsible nations in our fight against common enemies, and in defense of civilization itself."

(via BICOM)

Israel Slams UNESCO Vote Declaring Hebron a Palestinian Historical Site

Israeli officials slammed a Palestinian-backed UNESCO resolution that would make Hebron a Palestinian historical site, The Times of Israel reported Friday.

The vote to include the Tomb of the Patriarchs and the old city of Hebron as Palestinian heritage sites that are in danger, was taken at this week's World Heritage Committee's 41st summit in Krakow, Poland, and passed by a vote of 12 to 3 with six abstentions.

Though such votes are usually taken by a show of hands, Poland, Jamaica and Croatia asked for a secret ballot. However, the secrecy of the vote was compromised as each delegate voted in front of the room. Israel had been pushing to have a secret ballot where Arab countries might be able to vote against the Palestinian resolution.

Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon slammed the vote, "This attempt to sever the ties between Israel and Hebron is shameful and offensive, and eliminates UNESCO’s last remaining shred of credibility. To disassociate Israel from the burial grounds of the patriarchs and matriarchs of our nation is an ugly display of discrimination, and an act of aggression against the Jewish people.”

Earlier this week the committee approved a resolution denying Jewish historical claims to Jerusalem. Late last year the organization also passed two resolutions denying Jewish claims to Jerusalem, just as Israel was uncovering even more archaeological evidence of the Jewish presence in Jerusalem going back thousands of years.

Susan Sarandon Praises Israeli NGO’s Efforts to Help Refugees in Europe

On July 4, Oscar-winning actress and humanitarian activist Susan Sarandon was hosted by Israeli humanitarian aid NGO IsraAID at two refugee shelters in Berlin, where its teams of mental-health professionals work with refugee and local communities.

She came primarily to see how a table-tennis room she donated last year in the Rathaus Wilmersdorf refugee shelter was helping to relieve stress among children and youth living in the camp.

After playing ping-pong with some of the kids, Sarandon participated in an IsraAID art-therapy session focused on improving the psychological, emotional and social well-being of refugees living in camps in Germany.

“I’m so grateful to meet and work with IsraAID, who’ve educated me about the refugee crisis, and I was proud to see their important work providing psychosocial support for refugees,” Sarandon said.

IsraAID co-CEO Yotam Polizer accompanied Sarandon on the visit. “This is the third time that we have hosted Susan Sarandon at our refugee support programs,” he said. “We are deeply inspired by her compassion and dedication to help refugees, and are looking forward to together raising awareness about the long-term needs of refugees. Susan’s support is crucial now more than ever, as the global refugee crisis becomes the world’s largest humanitarian crisis of our generation.” IsraAID’s team of largely Arabic- and Farsi-speaking mental-health specialists has been supporting refugee resettlement and rehabilitation in Germany since 2015. The team gives professional assistance to refugee shelters across Berlin and Frankfurt, providing long-term support to the staff as well as direct aid to some 10,000 refugees. Founded in 2001, IsraAID thus far has responded to humanitarian crises in 41 countries, with ongoing programs in 18 countries.

(via Israel21c)

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