Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat has signed an agreement to host the International Children’s Games in Israel’s capital with the President of the International Children’s Games Torsten Rasch, after the International Children’s Games (ICG) selected Jerusalem to host the games in 2018.
At the signing, Rasch passed the Olympic torch to Mayor Barkat to hold until the opening of the games in Jerusalem. Jerusalem Municipality Sports and Culture Administration director Ariella Rejwan, Sports Department Director Itzik Kornfein, representatives of the Ministry of Culture and Sports including Avi Benbenisti, who serves as a member of the organization’s professional committee, and the secretary general and executives of the International Children’s Game were also present at the signing ceremony.
The 2018 International Children’s Games
President of the International Children’s Games Torsten Rasch said, “We are pleased that Jerusalem will host the International Children’s Games in 2018. We are honored to sign this agreement. Beyond the games, it is important for the host city to welcome the children and promote gamesmanship, tolerance, and values that are common to the children who are coming to the city from all over the world.”
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said, “Jerusalem is on the map. We are pleased and excited that we have been selected to host the International Children’s Games in 2018. There is no question that this is a vote of confidence in our heavy investment in sports in recent years, which were intended to bring international endeavors to the capital of Israel and to develop the city’s economy. This is a wonderful opportunity to showcase Israel and Jerusalem to the world in positive sporting contexts. I am sure that the young athletes will have a unique sporting experience and receive a warm Jerusalem welcome. The games will offer a sporting challenge and joy, as well as promoting the values of tolerance, mutual respect, and teamwork."
From the Maccabiah Games to the International Children’s Games: a sports revolution in Jerusalem
Bringing the International Children’s Games to Jerusalem is part of the sports revolution that Mayor Barkat has been leading in the past few years, resulting in the turning of Jerusalem to the sports capital of Israel as a host for large international sports events: the 20th Maccabiah Games, the Jerusalem Winner Marathon, the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) Europe Under-20 Championship, and more.
As part of the sports revolution, the International Sports Center has been built in Malha, which includes the Jerusalem Payis Arena. The project includes an ice hockey rink, expansion of the Teddy Stadium, an upgrade of the Athletics Stadium at Givat Ram, construction of the Kraft Family Sports Campus, and the inauguration of many new sports arenas across the city. The construction and upgrade of world-class sports facilities have expanded the city’s cover in multiple fields, and now makes it possible to hold international events of the highest professional level.
The hosting of the International Children’s Games is a collaborative effort between the Ministry of Culture and Sport and the Jerusalem Municipality. More than 1,600 children aged 12-15 from the participating cities are scheduled to participate in the games, including 90 representatives from the participating cities. The games will include competitions in football, basketball, streetball, volley ball, fencing, judo, athletics, tennis, and swimming.
Photograph: Jackie Levy