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MWU Chanukah Message  Maccabi World Union: a century of Jewish-Zionist life

Dear friends,

This year, the celebration of Chanukah, Chag HaMaccabim, the Festivity of the Maccabees, embraces the colors of our Maccabi Movement which celebrates 100 years as the World Movement that promotes a vibrant, present and relevant, inclusive and respectful Jewish-Zionist message in Jewish communities around the world.


The Maccabi Movement, with half a million members in more than 70 countries on all continents, celebrated its 100 years as a World Organization on August 29th, 2021. After the first Maccabi Club was established in 1895 in Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul, Turkey), the Maccabi Clubs grew and developed, incorporating the message of "muscular Judaism", thus interpreted by Max Nordau within the Zionist Movement as its first Vice-Chairman: “[w]e must renew our Youth [based on our past]: we will develop a broad chest, strong limbs, a courageous appearance. We will transform ourselves into a people of value."


It was on August 29, 1921, during the XII World Zionist Congress in Carlsbad, Czechoslovakia (modern-day Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic), when the strong network of Maccabi clubs in Europe, America, Africa, Asia and Australia became a World Union, maintaining the promotion of its Maccabi values: Jewish Continuity and Zionism and establishing the largest Jewish event in the world, the Maccabiah, in the Land of Israel (the first took place in 1932, 16 years before the founding of the State of Israel).


Although hundreds of Maccabi clubs were annihilated during the Holocaust, Maccabi World Union and its Continental Confederations managed to rebuild themselves in Europe and establish a foothold in all continents, providing meaning, socialization and commitment to Jewish life and the State of Israel in all Jewish communities, large and small. The once Maccabi "clubs" grew and developed into the largest Maccabi Jewish Community Centers in the world, with opportunities for the entire Jewish family. In 1929, Macabi World Union established a highly developed Youth Movement, Maccabi Tzair, that is today a global Network known as Macabi Tzair Olami, and a wide range of offers: workshops; courses; trainings for all ages; camps; educational programs in Israel; leadership training for all levels of leadership –educators, lay and professional leaders, from which the Maccabi Future Leaders Forum, MFLF, and the Maccabi CEO Forum emerge; Hasbara Seminars, in the permanent struggle for the recognition of the right to life itself for the State of Israel ... and, of course, the development of Sports. Maccabi is the center of all sports disciplines and social activities of the Jewish people around the world, with extraordinary achievements throughout its 100 years of glorious history- from Judith Deutsch of Hakoah Vienna in 1935 and Agnes Keleti of Maccabi Hungary in 1954 to Artem Dolgopyat from Maccabi Tel-Aviv, Gold Medalist Champion at the recent Tokyo Olympics. Of course… Maccabi World Union is also the organizer of the largest Jewish-Zionist event in the world and largest tourist event in Israel: the Maccabiah, with 10,000 participating athletes and more than 20,000 followers from around the world. The Maccabi Continental Confederations organize, in turn, the largest events in the Americas and EuroAsia: the Latin American Maccabi Confederation (CLAM) is responsible for the Pan-American Maccabi Games (with the exceptional Games in Mexico serving as the latest example), and Maccabi Europe leads the European Maccabi Games (the last memorable ones occurred in Hungary).


Maccabi captured the imagination of the most extraordinary Jewish leaders of the Modern Era. Theodor Herzl, the Father of Zionism (and whose best friend and lieutenant was Max Nordau), referring to Maccabi, said: “Get organized! Establish local groups, branches of societies of all kinds, men's associations next to women's, gymnastic associations, song groups, all with one direction - to Zion!" Albert Einstein, the greatest theorist of Science of all time, amazes us when he writes about our Maccabi: "Blessed be the work of Maccabi, trying to bring a counter-effect to the one-sided over-spirituality of the Jewish people." Sigmund Freud, the Father of Psychoanalysis, wrote to the Maccabi Authorities, months before his death (1939), "[y]ou may include my name in the [Maccabi World Union] Board." David Ben-Gurion, first Prime Minister of the State of Israel, declared, “Maccabi is undoubtedly the most important branch of the Zionist movement. Its importance is to breathe life into the stature of the Jewish people, weakened by so many years of exile.” These giants saw in the Maccabi Movement what many of us feel day after day: Maccabi is the most complete answer to the needs of the Jewish people. Maccabi is Jewish socialization, meeting, action, commitment, training and empowerment. Maccabi is also family, community, home and inclusion for all age groups. Maccabi is current and relevant ideology, respectful of the idiosyncrasies of each country and each Community. It is demanding, yes, of all of its affiliates the inclusion of its central ideological pillars: Jewish Continuity and Zionism- and in the singular understanding of those ideals by each Jewish Community.


Maccabi World Union, the Continental Maccabi Confederations and the Maccabi Territorial Organizations in each country were the founders of 8 kibbutzim; of Kfar HaMaccabiah (the MaccabiWorld Headquarters in Israel); of the city of Maccabim - today, a complex of 100,000 inhabitants in Maccabim-Reut-Modiin that plans to grow to a quarter of a million people; 56 Maccabi Tzair branches around the world, and more than 400 Jewish Community Centers and Clubs. This is not only infrastructure per se, but it is also about the Jewish-Zionist livelihood of the thousands and thousands of opportunities of our Movement through our cultural, traditional and inclusive Judaism in all its expressions and our connection to the State of Israel - recognized as the Center of our Maccabi self.


Maccabi World Union has joined the efforts of the State of Israel to defend the right to “lihiot am jofshi beartzeinu, Eretz Tzion viYirushalaim ”, to “be free in our Land: the Land of Zion and Jerusalem” – what we sing in the Israeli Anthem, “Hatikvah”. The delegitimization of the very existence of the State of Israel is a direct challenge to the Maccabi ideology, which conceives Zionism as the expression of the redeemed life of a people harassed by 18 centuries of brutal persecution, expulsion and genocide. This ideological demand already appears in the very name of the Movement, since the term "Maccabi" urges, in its Hebrew acronym, to assume responsibility for the very life of the Jewish People and for their Historic Land - the Land of Israel and the Jewish State.


Does Maccabi have today, “an ideal to follow,” as it did in the times of its ideological Father, Dr. Max Nordau? My answer is a resounding YES.

Our task is to ensure that each Maccabi member:


  • conceives himself/herself as an integral part of Klal Israel, a member of the Jewish people (a group of brothers and sisters) scattered throughout the world and centered in Medinat Israel.
  • promotes Jewish continuity and combats assimilation.
  • studies, inquires about and knows the Maccabi ideology.
  • connects to the religion-tradition-nation levels of the Jewish People.
  • recognizes the centrality of Medinat Israel in the present and future of the Jewish People.
  • demands a permanent remembrance of the Shoah.
  • believes in democracy, pluralism and tolerance as essential values.
  • identifies with the Maccabi club/JCC to which he/she belongs and with the Maccabi Movement in general.


During July 2022, tens of thousands of Jews from 80 countries and all continents will arrive in Israel, and Maccabi World Union will once again put its ideals into action in the greatest expression of Zionism and Jewish Peoplehood on the planet: the 21st Maccabiah.


We at Maccabi World Union greet you with enormous joy on this unique 100th anniversary, maintaining our commitment to provide meaningful connections between the Jewish Communities of the world and the Jewish State. We are always working for the promising, safe and happy future of our People everywhere.


Chanukah Sameach!

Chazak Ve'ematz!



Deputy Director-General 

Maccabi World Union


Photo  courtesy of RABBI CARLOS TAPIERO

Deputy Director-General 

Maccabi World Union




 The Accademia Italiana della Cucina held a cocktail dinner at HAYAMA restaurant in Old Jaffa. The occasion on Wednesday November 24 was part of the 6th world week of Italian Cuisine.

The Italian Academy of Cuisine works together with other Italian cultural and economic entities in Tel Aviv, as well as the Italian embassy, to promote authentic Italian cuisine and genuine Italian agricultural and food products. The event was sponsored by the Embassy of Italy in Israel and the Italian Tourist board.

85  people came to the Hayama restaurant that was decorated in an Italian atmosphere. The decoration was in the colors of the Italian flag- red in white and green. Each table was decorated with the academy flags, and flowers in the colors of the flag. The dinner was prepared by the chefs Marco Morello, Claudia Fabiani, Michele Bozzetto and Emanuela Panke, who came from Italy especially for this event.

The delegate of the Academy, Dr. Cinzia Klein, welcomed the participants and spoke about the theme of the VI World Week of the Italian Cuisine was the Eco Sustainability. For this reason the academic dinner was a dinner with recipes of food reuse.



The event opened with a blessing speech by the new ambassador of Italy, H. E. Sergio Barbanti. The ambassador and the head of the Academy Delegate, Dr. Cinzia Klein, and Vice Delegate Ms. Sabrina Fadlun, awarded medals of honor. Mr. Moshe Barel, owner of Pasta della Casa, was awarded with the Price Alberini for the best Italian product in Israel. Mr. Benny Ben Israel, owner of MoltoBen, was awarded with the prize Nuvoletti for his defense and promotion of the Italian food tradition. 



The dinner opened with appetizers of bread gnocchi with black garlic and fermented artichokes. The first dish was fish balls. And the main course served was chard cutlets with cabbage and anchovy sauce and salted caramel. The last sweet dish was a nougat partrait with a large Nutella chocolate leaf on top of it. The meal was paired with excellent white and red wines imported from Italy.

Among the notable personalities attending the dinner were: The ex-Israeli Ambassador in Rome, H.E. Mr. Ofer Sacks. The Italian Italian military attaché, Col. Gioacchino Violante, The attaché for Italian Aeronautic Army Col Davide Salerno, The former Israeli Ambassador to Vatican, H.E. Mr. Oded Ben Hur, The Vice President of Israel-Italy Commerce Chambre, Mr. Roberto della Rocca ,The director of the Italian Cultural  Institute in Tel Aviv, Dr Maria Sica, The Director of ITA in Israel, Mr. Fabrizio Camastra, Ms. Ludovica Laviani Mancinelli, Economic and Commercial Affairs, the psychiatric representative of the Israeli health Ministry Dr. Tal Berman, and Editor of the Diplomatic Journal Mrs. Silvia Golan.


Photos credit Silvia G. Golan 

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India reopens to tourism beginning with info session hosted by the Embassy of India at the Indian Cultural Center in Tel Aviv.


India is one of the most popular tourist destinations for Israelis, with tens of thousands of Israeli tourists arriving annually, prior to Covid-19. To celebrate the reopening of India to foreign tourists, the Embassy of India hosted a special information session at the Indian Cultural Center (ICC) in Tel Aviv.


Dorit Blaj, public relations officer at the Embassy of India invited guests to use the resources at the ICC- “the first stop en route to India, which is a hub for Indian heritage in Israel. Among the activities at the ICC are free Yoga classes offered twice daily by an instructor from India. On Thursday, November 18 the center will host a book launch by Shaul Sapir about Mumbai heritage walking tours. Information on ICC activities can be found on social media (https://www.facebook.com/ICCRinIsrael/).  



Mr. Naveen Ramakrishna, Head of Chancery at the Embassy, emphasized that with India finally reopening to tourists, the embassy staff stand ready to assist with facilitating travel back and forth between the countries, whether for business or pleasure, individual or group travel.



Counselor Dinesh Udeina then discussed the relevant travel restrictions and guidelines that need to be followed for a seamless trip to India. These include filling out an entry form (https://www.newdelhiairport.in/airsuvidha/apho-registration) and taking a PCR test within 72 hours of one’s departure flight, as well as a Covid test upon arrival (prebooked online https://www.newdelhiairport.in/covid19-test-appointment-booking) in India. Vaccinated passengers can use their Covid 19 certificate (downloaded via the Israeli Ministry of Health website (https://corona.health.gov.il/en), while unvaccinated visitors will need to home-quarantine (in hotel or other place of residence) for a week before taking an additional Covid test. The same visa categories (tourist, medical, conference, etc.) apply, and visa applications can be made online (e-visa): https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/evisa/tvoa.html, or in person at the Embassy (cash payment only), and visas take minimum 72 hours to process so travelers should plan accordingly.


For traveling to Israel, the standard Israeli regulations apply, which currently include completing an entry form 24 hours prior to travel to and from Israel (https://corona.health.gov.il/en/flights/), a PCR test 72 hours before travel, and a valid Green Pass (https://corona.health.gov.il/en) . For non-Israeli citizens, additional guidelines and restrictions apply, and the relevant vaccination/Covid recovery certificates must be uploaded in advance to ensure entry into Israel (https://corona.health.gov.il/en/directives/air-travel-covid19-green/?tab=by-air). All passengers arriving must take a Covid test upon arrival in Israel (pre-booked here: https://testngo.femi.com/en/sign-in). 


Following the technical presentation, a series of films were shown highlighting the incredible beauty and diversity of India, further elevating the excitement to travel to India, whether for the first time, or on a return trip. Mr. Pankaj Tiwari, Israel’s country manager for Air India, gave a presentation about Air India, and its services in light of Covid 19. He explained that the airline recently reprivatized, and features a large fleet of over 250 aircraft, as well as being a member of the Star Alliance. For travelers to and from Israel specifically, Air India was the first airline in the world to fly from Israel over Saudi airspace, greatly reducing travel time. Air India also offers the most generous baggage arrangements of any airline, with passengers receiving two checked bags along with their hand luggage for international and domestic legs of the trip. While flights were reduced due to Covid-19, by January 2022 there are expected to be Tel Aviv-Delhi flights on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, before increasing to six weekly flights by the summer season. Reservations, and more information on flights and club information can be found on the Air India website (https://www.airindia.in/). 


To close the evening, Raz Hellwing, an Israeli tour guide, musician, and expert on travel to India, gave a presentation, highlighting upcoming tours to different parts of India through his company, Masala Chai (www.masa-la-chai.com). 


Travelers are advised to check all relevant government websites prior to travel, as the situation is dynamic and restrictions may be added or removed.


Photos credit Silvia G. Golan 

More Pics at Facebook  Diplomacy Israel / Israel Diplo


Steven Aiello








On the roof of the Philippine Embassy in Tel Aviv, a festive and special event was held last night, in which the Philippine Ambassador to Israel, Macairog S. Alberto, hosted the contestants of the 2021 season of 'VIP Survivor Israel, which is broadcast on Reshet 13.

Although they had already returned to Israel several months ago, the colorful event brought them back to the island. The survivors wore traditional Filipino costumes and even learned the secrets of the traditional dance.

The guests were exposed to the dishes that characterize Filipino cuisine.

Ambassador Macairog greeted the survivors and expressed hope that they would soon return to visit the magical Philippines.



Among the survivors who arrived were Michael Lewis, Jackie Azoulay, Maayan Ashkenazi, Lisa Bikh, Fani Buzaglo, Shira Farber, Liya Gil, Jonatan Bashan, Odelya Swisa, Yuval Shem-Tov, Dandan Bolotin, Vered Buskila, Henry David, and Zohar Strauss.

The event was held in collaboration with the Philippine Department of Tourism (PDOT), the Embassy of the Philippines in Israel, and Reshet 13.

Meanwhile, Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Berna Romulo- Puyat, announced that the Philippines will host in March 2022 the Great World Tourism Conference WTTC, attended by more than 800 representatives from around the world.

The conference will have a respectable representation of the CEOs, presidents, and senior representatives of the 100 largest companies in the world in the field of tourism.


Photos  Silvia G. Golan

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Jewish and Arab students and educators from 14 cities participate in the MUNOM conference in Malmo as part of the Debate for Peace delegation

The first Model UN delegation since February 2020 recently returned from the MUNOM conference in Malmo, Sweden. In total 14 students and 3 teachers, coming from 14 different cities, participated in the Debate for Peace delegation to MUNOM, hosted by Borgarskolen Malmo.

Due to the challenges of the last year and a half, it was the first MUN for several delegates, and most of the students only met one another for the first time at Ben Gurion airport. Despite that, the group meshed quickly, highlighting the importance of fully integrated Jewish-Arab delegations, with Druze, Jewish and Muslim students working together.

At the conference, the delegates engaged in an intense 3.5 days of debates and negotiations, representing countries including China, Russia, the US, Iran, Myanmar, Zambia, Palestine, Turkey and the Netherlands. Among the topics discussed at the conference: Bioweapons; fair treatment of refugees and elimination of discrimination; cooperation in outer space; women’s rights in Afghanistan under the Taliban, and preserving cultural heritage in East Africa.

In addition to the conference, the delegation hosted discussion circles on the topics of racism and identity, together with local students, and engaged in several meetings with local, municipal and national initiatives to address anti-Semitism and Islamaphobia. On Friday evening the group held shabbat prayer services and qiddush together.

At the closing ceremony on Saturday afternoon, Alessio Cornacchia (Ben Zvi High School, Qiryat Ono) won Best First-time delegate in the GA 1 committee, Shahar Tabenkin (Rishonim school, Herzliya) won Outstanding Delegate of the GA3 committee, and Shahaf Navon (Ben Gurion school, Petah Tiqva) won Best Delegate of the General Assembly plenary.



Emma Konig (Hadassim school, Even Yehuda) said that the delegation experience was “life changing”: “In one week, I developed really strong connections with people from diverse backgrounds that I had never met before, and experienced some unforgettable times with them. This trip gave me new friends, a new perspective, and memories I’ll not forget in a lifetime.” Mohamed Abu Rkik (Neve Midbar, Nitzana) added “I was happy to participate in this special experience, it is fun to meet different people and learn from them and about them.” Hala Keadn (Al-Andalus School, Baqa Al-Gharbia) explained that she "learned how to accept the thinking and differences of others, even if it was not the same as I thought. I made new friends and learned to listen first before I judge anyone. The difference is something special. I have a lot to learn, so I want to thank everyone who contributed to this special experience."

Elene Segal, who accompanied the delegation as the MUN coordinator from the Hand in Hand school, Jerusalem, remarked that it was “a memorable experience with remarkable youth who rose to the occasion at every opportunity.” Her colleague Alaa Yassin from Almanara school in Jisr Azarqa, stressed that the trip "supported delegates' personal growth, triggers self-confidence and self- esteem", and that "MUN offers students’ skills they wouldn't otherwise gain in a high school setting, it gives students an opportunity to develop writing skills, public speaking, teamwork and leadership skills.

Debate for Peace director Steven Aiello expressed gratitude to the MUNOM staff and Malmo Borgarskola principal Martin Roth for hosting the conference, and to Peter Vig and Adrian Kaba for being the catalysts of the delegation. 

Photo credits: Alaa Yassin and Elene Segal


Steven Aiello