Israel Police: President Joe Biden Expected To Attend Israel’s Maccabiah Opening (VIDEO)
The Media Line's Felice Friedson's exclusive look at the world’s largest sports gathering this year, bringing 10,000 athletes to Israel
Amir Gissin is a former career diplomat, and became Israel’s consul general in Toronto in 2007. He created Circleaders, a consulting firm focused on international branding and influencer platforms. The incoming chairman of Maccabi World Union, he is set to kick off the largest sporting event in the world this year. He spoke with The Media Line regarding US President Joe Biden’s appearance at the opening of the 21st Maccabiah Games in Jerusalem.
Asked about behind-the-scenes preparations for the presidential visit and appearance at the Games, Gissin told The Media Line, “The truth of the matter is that we have been engaged for quite a while now with the message that we got from the White House that during the upcoming visit of President Biden to Israel, which happens to be at the same time, they are considering different alternatives for connecting with the Maccabiah that obviously create on the one hand quite a good logistical challenge for us. On the other hand, we see that as a great vote of confidence and we really look forward to hear and see whether it will happen and what will be the connection. We’re hopeful that it will be a significant involvement of the White House and the president in the Maccabiah, and I will just say that this is the ultimate vote of respect and recognition of the importance of the Maccabi movement and the Maccabiah in the life of the Jewish people.”
Gissin said he would not go into details about changes that had to be made to accommodate the US president’s visit, but that “anything which is connected to security and transportation will have to be totally revised. For instance, just to bring the athletes to Jerusalem from the many hotels they’re in around Israel – we’re talking about over 200 buses – we need to make sure that those buses will not be late to the opening ceremony because the athletes need to participate in the inaugural parade. So, they will obviously need to come earlier because Jerusalem is not going to be an easy place to navigate that day.”
The 21st Maccabiah Games, known as the “Jewish Olympics,” are set to take place in Israel on July 12-26, with venues in Jerusalem, Haifa, and Netanya. About 10,000 athletes from 80 countries competing in the quadrennial event will participate in 42 sporting events watched by tens of thousands of spectators.
For a full transcript of the interview, see “Israel Prepares for the Maccabiah Games, This Year’s Largest World Sporting Event.”