BUENOS AIRES (JTA) — Argentina will host the 15th Pan American Maccabi games in its capital city Buenos Aires.
Every four years, the Maccabi World Union organizes the Pan American Maccabi Games held in South America, that gathers Jewish delegations from the continent and other invited countries.
The announcement that Buenos Aires would host the games in 2023 was made on Friday at the ceremony to present Argentina’s athletes and coaches for next month’s edition of the games, in Mexico. Mexican President Mauricio Macri recorded a greeting to the Argentinean delegation of 480 people heading to the games in Mexico.
The government of Argentina also published in its official bulletin that the games have been declared of “national interest,” which means symbolic support at the top governmental level, but without any budget to go with it.
Peru was also interested in organizing holding the 2023 games but the Argentina´s capital was chosen by World Maccabi.
Monica Sucari, president of FACCMA, the Federation of Argentine Jewish centers, told JTA that the Buenos Aires games will be “huge” and include sports and cultural activities throughout the country. “It is a sport event, but also a Jewish, Zionist, event to celebrate our heritage with pride,“ she said.
FACCMA, the largest member of the Latin American branch of the Maccabi World Union, has 55 affiliates and a network of 50,000 members. The 2023 host city, Buenos Aires, has some 159,000 Jewish inhabitants according to a 2018 report by demographer Sergio Della Pergola, making it the 16th largest Jewish populated city in the world.
Athletes from 19 countries -15 from the continent, plus Australia, Hungary, Israel and the United Kingdom, will participate in the games in Mexico City July 5-14. It is the third time that Mexico has hosted the games, including in 1979 and 1999.