10th Maccabiah10th Maccabiah10th Maccabiah

  • Issue: June 1977
  • Designer: A. Berg
  • Stamp size: 25.7 x 40 mm
  • Plate no.: 499 - 501
  • Sheet of 15 stamps Tabs: 5
  • Printers: Government Printers
  • Method of printing: Photogravure

The underlying idea of the Maccabiah is the "Ingathering of the Exiles" and the forging of close bonds between Jewish sporting youth and the Land of Israel. The Maccabiah itself combines a sports meeting with elements of a social and national get together.

The Maccabiah is the only Jewish sports event recognized by the international sports bodies - the International Olympic Committee and the international sport associations-and coming under their supervision.

There have been nine Maccabiah Games held so far-two before the terrible destruction of European Jewry and seven in the renewed Jewish State. The 10th Games are now about to be held. This 10th Maccabiah is being held at a difficult time in the history of the Jewish people and the Jewish State, when Zionism and Judaism are having to defend themselves against the vicious and hate-inspired attacks of great and powerful groups of nations; when attempts are being made to expel Israel from the international sporting community-when international sport is becoming inextricably involved with politics.

For all of these reasons, the leaders of Maccabi decided to turn the 10th Games into a "davke" Maccabiah-an "even although..." Maccabiah-a Maccabiah which will give Jewish youth from all the world the opportunity to demonstrate that the Jewish nation is one strong people and that the sporting spirit holds sway on the track, in the arena and on the field. It is to be an opportunity for Jewish youth to prove that it is fully prepared to meet the challenges facing the Jewish people.

The beginnings of the Maccabi movement date back to the end of the 19th century-that period of national revival and the birth of the Zionist movement. The call of the national leader, Dr. Max Nordau, for a "Muscle Jewry" greatly influenced the movement and inspired Jewish youth to organize to "become strong in both body and spirit and to regain its national self-respect".

It was during the 8th Zionist Congress at Carlsbad in 1921 that the various sports clubs decided to amalgamate and form the World Maccabi Organization. The name "Maccabi" was chosen for the organization as a symbol of the Jewish people's proud past and the heroism of the Maccabees of old. Rallying around the name "Maccabi" was equivalent to declaring a plan of action-setting forth an aim and a challenge. From the very beginning of the movement, its leaders dreamed of arranging a world gathering of its members in Eretz Yisrael within the framework of an international sports competition, games and displays.

It was in 1929 that the decision to organize the first Maccabiah in the Land of Israel was taken. A special organizing committee for the First Maccabiah was nominated by the World Federation and members flocked to volunteer their services in support of the project.

Sports sites were improvized and funds mobilized. Maccabi consciousness spread throughout the world. Numerous obstacles had to be overcome-it should be remembered that this was the time of the British Mandate-and the First Maccabiah Games were held in 1932 in an atmosphere of joy and elation. The Second Maccabiah which was held in 1935 was followed by the, bloody disturbances in Palestine and the Second World War which led to a break of 15 years in the series.

During that period a cruel fate engulfed World Jewry and with it, the Maccabi Movement, when six million Jews were slaughtered in Europe and the Maccabi Movement wiped out.

The Third Maccabiah which took place in 1950 in the reborn State of Israel differed from its predecessors in one important aspect-clubs that had participated in the First and Second Games were no longer represented, while their place was taken by numerous new clubs which had since been formed.

The Fourth Maccabiah was held in 1953, in which year the decision was taken to hold the Games once every four years. The Games were accordingly held in 1957, 1961, 1965, 1969 and 1973.

In 1977 Israel was making preparations to host yet one more Maccabiah-the Tenth of the series.

The supreme body of the Maccabiah is the International Maccabiah Committee which includes representatives from all over the world, while the actual organization of the Games is in the hands of the Organizing Committee in Israel. This summer, more than 2,500 Jewish sportsmen and thousands of supporters, will come to Israel which has taken its historical place as the spiritual centre of world Jewry.

The "10th Maccabiah" stamps depict three different branches of sport:

Putting the shot
A branch of athletics originating in England developed from the ancient custom of throwing heavy stones.

A branch of wrestling originating in Japan where it is one of the most commonly practised types of self-defence. This sport was included in the Olympics for the first time in 1964.

A branch of sport which grew out of demonstrations of old-style duelling. Three different weapons are used-foil (men and women); epée and sabre (men only). Fencing has been part of the Olympic programme ever since the Games were revived in 1896. This has always been a branch of sport in which large numbers of Jews excelled.

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10th Maccabiah