(photo credit: Maccabi World Union)
The president of the Maccabi World Union has said the organization is looking into methods of improving the quality of the Maccabiah Games, the so-called Jewish Olympics, which take place in Israel every four years.
Jeanne Futeran told The Jerusalem Post Maccabi will be attempting to attract as many world class Jewish athletes as possible to the next games in 2009 and improve the level of facilities.
The comments came after more than 200 people representing Maccabi delegations from around the globe gathered at Kfar Maccabiah this week for the 25th Maccabi World Union congress.
Discussion was based around assessments of the 2005 games as well as looking to the future.
"There was a lot of enthusiasm and excitement and we really made a lot of progress," Futeran said. "It was tough going but we spoke about where we are going and our plans for the future.
"We want to schedule the Games at a time where there are no other major international sporting events so all our top Jewish athletes can participate."
During discussions on last year's games, the congress heard how some participants complained that the accommodation was too far from the venues and the facilities were of a low standard.
"For the next games, we will select the venues first and thereafter the accommodation with those venues in mind," Futeran said. "This is Israel's showcase sporting event and the best facilities and venues in the country should be available for it.
"We've had lots of excuses on why they weren't available and we will insist that they be made so next time around."
During the week, the congress appointed a new chairman of the organizing committee for the 18th games in three year's time.
Itamar Herman, who previously worked in the Maccabiah finance department, replaced Uzi Zwebner, who served the maximum two terms.
Yigal Carmi was re-elected as chairman of MWU.
A committee was also formed, charged with looking at the place of the movement in the modern age.
Although the MWU vowed to increase the quality of the competitions, which range from rugby to table tennis, Futeran stressed that all participants are always welcome.
Commenting on the differing standard of the various competitors, Futeran said, "We are never going to tell the weakest sportsman not to come or compete just because he may lose. We represent more than just the sport.
"That is something Maccabi doesn't forget. They are the reason for bringing the most people to Israel in one hunk. Hundreds of kids make their first visit because of the games."
Also at the congress, delegations from around the world gave presentations on upcoming regional games.
Sydney is hosting the firstever Maccabi Australian Games this July, Rome will have the honor of welcoming the European games in July 2007 and Buenos Aires gets the Pan-American games in December 2007.