The Seventeenth Maccabiah, 2005
The Seventeenth Maccabiah (July 2005) completely fulfilled its promise: it was "The Moment to Love". It was also a major leap forward: led over the new "15th Maccabiah" Bridge by the massive 533-person Australian Delegation, an astonishing number of athletes, 7326 from 55 countries, were greeted by President Katsav, Prime Minister Sharon and an ecstatic capacity audience in Ramat Gan National Stadium. Windsurfer Gal Fridman, Israel´s first-ever Olympic Gold medalist, lit the Flame, and the massed artistic program was a breathtaking whirl of color, movement and the spirit of Judaism.
Cricket, Fencing, Judo, Karate, Rugby and Triathlon were amongst the highest-level sports events ever staged in Israel, enlivened by the participation of many Olympic medalists and top-class international players. Gymnastics provided a stellar evening gala, Bryan Goldberg (USA) was the standout record-breaker in the pool, Israeli golfer Andy Nemiroff won Gold with a staggering 279, the superbly-managed Dutch women outclassed everyone else in field hockey, and world-class chess player Judit Polgár (Hungary) exhibited her amazing skills in a marathon of simultaneous games.
Preceded by the Israel Government´s official declaration of 2005 as the "Year of the Maccabiah" with many cultural events, media interest in "Maccabiah 2005" – especially via Internet – was exceptionally high, and nearly 2000 enthusiastic Maccabiah Volunteers lent a hand to the Organizing Committee. Israel´s European Champion Judoka, Arik Ze´evi, participated in an emotional Closing Ceremony at Sultan’s Pool in Jerusalem.