In preparation for the Maccabiah games in July, we will invest tens of millions of shekels in the establishment and upgrade of sports facilities across the city. The complexes will host the Maccabiah Games, and will later serve the wider public. In addition, the construction of the buildings will be able to facilitate ice hockey and track and field competitions for the first time.
Among the facilities currently being installed:
The new Kraft Family Sports Complex:
The Kraft family donated $6 million to construct the complex in cooperation with the Jerusalem Fund and via the Moriah Company. The complex will be used for soccer competitions, and two fields will be built there along with a football field with synthetic grass. Construction of the fields will include, among others, the building of stands for fans with a capacity of 350 spectators per stand, fencing, and lighting. Pedestrian paths, parking, offices, and additional facilities will be constructed at the complex.
Ice hockey rink at the Pais Arena:
The rink will be used for ice hockey competitions and will be the first of its kind in Israel, enabling the first competitions of this kind. The construction of the complex was made possible through the acquisition of a special surface that is used for constructing rinks of this sort.
New soccer field in Homat Shmuel
Thr new soccer field will constitute part of the Homat Shmuel park. As part of its construction, fences, lighting, and stands will be put in place. In addition, changing rooms, showers, restrooms, warehouses, and offices for use by teams and field management will be constructed.
In addition, existing facilities will be upgraded:
Givat Ram Stadium
The stadium will host the Maccabiah’s track and field competitions for the first time, as well as the soccer tournament final. It will be thoroughly rennovated, to the cost of millions of shekels, and will later be used for additional national and international competitions. In addition, a temporary stand will be put in place at the stadium for the Maccabiah events to allow thousands of visitors to view the competitions. During that time, a permanent stand will also be built, as well as changing rooms, showers, and restrooms. In addition, a separate running track will be built as well as a “photo finish” tower—which will constitute a command and control center for the athletics competitions.
Tennis Center on Avraham Elmali'akh Street:
will host the tennis tournament throughout the competition.
“Mabat” soccer field
on Bar Yochai street, and the three Bayit VeGan fields on Shakhrai Street: will host soccer team practices throughout the tournament, and will also host some of the soccer matches expected to take place—in parallel with the Sportek fields.
Malha Sports Arena:
will also be upgraded, and will be used in the future for basketball competitions.
Turning Jerusalem into Israel’s Sports Capital:
Over the last few years, Jerusalem has become Israel’s sports capital, having hosted the biggest international sporting events in the country—such as the Winner Jerusalem Marathon, Formula 1, the Maccabiah, and many additional events. As part of the sports revolution that the city has undergone during Barkat’s time, the International Sports Zone in Malha was built, which includes the Pais Arena, the expanded Teddy Stadium, an Olympic pool, and more. In addition, new sports complexes have been constructed, running and bike paths were dedicated across the city, parks with fitness and sports facilities were built in neighborhoods, and more. The upgrading and construction of these buildings will expand the city’s sporting umbrella into its various areas, and will allow the Maccabiah events to take place at the highest professional level.
Mayor Nir Barkat emphasized that “this year, in parallel with the 20th Maccabiah events, Jerusalem will celebrate the 50th year since its unification. It is amazing to look back and see how much the city has developed, blossomed and advanced—particularly with regard to sports in all of its varieties. This is another expression of the city’s diverse character and is the fruit of the hard work that led the city to become a sports powerhouse, one of the leading cities in the world in this area.”
Amir Peled, head of the 20th Maccabiah, noted that at the Maccabiah headquarters, “more than 10,000 athletes are expected to arrive, and more than 50,000 families, friends, and acquaintances. The Maccabiah is one of the biggest sporting events in the world, which connects Jews and brings them here to Israel—through a mutual love for sport and the Jewish people.”
The 20th Maccabiah will take place between July 4th– July 18th, 2017, with the participation of around 10,000 athletes and another 20,000 families, friends, and visitors. The opening ceremony will take place at Teddy Stadium on July 6th. Just recently, it was announced that the Olympic swimmers Anthony Irwin, Lenny Krayzelburg, and Jason Lezak will also attend the Maccabiah.
Picture one: the renovated Teddy. Credit: Flash 90
Picture two: sports facilities in the city. Credit: Media Icon
Make Jerusalem the sports capital of Israel. Credit: Architect Yossi Ben Naim