It is an interesting piece of information that Judas Maccabeus, the man after whom the Maccabiah games is named, did not approve of athletic games and competitions therein. He was a Jewish warrior who fought against the ancient Greeks and therefore it explains why he was against this. He felt these sporting events were influenced by the Greek culture.
At Maccabiah is conducted under the patronage of the Maccabi World Union (MWU), an organization especially for the youth and its sports and is spread worldwide. It aims in bringing forth the Jewish cultural heritage. This sports organization which has its headquarters at Israel also tries to promote the Jewish traditions and its identity through its promotional activities through social and educational activities.
This Jewish Olympics is held in the Jewish state of Israel. Anyone who is an Israeli citizen (Jewish or non-Jewish), and every Jew who is not an Israeli citizen, is eligible to participate in the Games. Arab Israelis can also take part in this event. Very similar to the Olympics, at Maccabiah too, there is a special section allocated for the disabled.
Initially known by the name of Maccabiyon, it was decided that this event would be first hosted in 1932. As decided, the games opened on the 28th of March 1932 with events such as athletics, football and swimming and about 400 sportsperson participating in it from 18 different countries and ended on the 6th of April 1932. These sporting events became so popular that there was no looking for. This sports even which started in the most humble of ways has achieved a landmark in 17th Maccabiah games in 2005. This has marked the largest number of participants (more than 7,700) till date. Unfortunately due to the Second World War the third Maccabiah games got postponed and it was finally held in 1950 in Israel.
At Maccbiah Games, standards are set at par with regard to most of its sporting events. Many Olympic champions have sought Maccabiah gold, silver, and bronze medals. The Basic Principles of the Maccabiah Games are not similar to the Olympics as it opines that only if 4 countries (3 in case of female sports) participate in a particular sport that the said event would be conducted.
The games are always held in Israel. There are three types of competitions at Maccabiah. They are 'Open,' 'juniors,' and 'Masters.' Masters' sports are basically those participated by the older section of participants. The junior segment at Maccabiah is open to athletes between the age group of 15 to 18.