The 19th Maccabiah Games came to a close in Jerusalem.
The games closing ceremony, featuring some of Israel’s most popular and well known pop music groups, such as Balkan Beat Box and Infected Mushroom, took place Tuesday evening at Teddy Stadium. Speakers urged the athletes gathered at the stadium to watch the closing ceremonies to consider making Israel their permanent home.
During the closing ceremony, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, and Omri Casspi, the first Israeli basketball player to play in the NBA, presented the Most Outstanding Athlete award to American swimmers Andrea Murez, who won five gold medals and two silver medals, and Garrett Weber- Gale, a former Olympian who earned two gold medals.
Athletes from a record 78 countries participated in 42 sports, as well as Paralympic events over ten days. Some 150 athletes who participated in the recent Olympic Games competed in the Maccabiah, the quadrennial event known as the “Jewish Olympics.”
Israel’s 3,000 participating athletes lead the medal counts with 411 medals, including 150 gold, 135 silver and 123 bronze. The U.S. delegation of about 1,200 came in second in the medal count with 196 medals, including 77 gold, 60 silver and 59 bronze. Canada, Australia and South Africa rounded out the top five countries with the highest medal counts.