On Monday in the Carmelite Monastery in Budapest, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán received the delegation of the 15th European Maccabi Games, Motti Tichauer, Chairman of the European Maccabi Confederation and Jack Terpins, Vice President of the Maccabi World Union, Bertalan Havasi, the Prime Minister’s press chief informed the Hungarian news agency MTI.

The Budapest European Maccabi Games which will start on Monday and will last until 7 August is the largest multisport event of all time hosted by Hungary which will be attended by 3,000 participants from 42 countries, including 2,300 athletes. This is a record attendance number in the ninety-year history of the event.

At the meeting held in the Carmelite Monastery, which was attended by Tamás Deutsch, President of MTK, Péter Deutsch, Executive Chairman of MTK, András Heisler, President of the Federation of Hungarian Jewish Communities and Ádám Jusztin, President of Maccabi VAC Hungary, the parties confirmed that the European Maccabi Games are more than a sports event; they are among Europe’s largest Jewish cultural, community and religious events.

Mr Orbán expressed pleasure at the fact that, with Budapest hosting the Games this year, after 90 years the event has returned to its Central European roots as it was held for the first time in Prague in 1929, and since then this region had not hosted the event. The Prime Minister stressed that Hungary is one of the world’s safest countries, and is ready and willing to host events on such a scale. He added that his government provides protection and major support for the preservation of the local Jewish community’s identity, for the Renaissance of Jewish life in Hungary. The grants provided for Jewish athletes play an important part in this.

The official opening of the 15th European Maccabi Games will be held in the new Hidegkuti Nándor Stadium. The sports event will be opened by President of the Republic János Áder, chief patron of the Games, while the flame will be lit by former world number one chess player Judit Polgár.

The athletes will compete in 82 events of 24 disciplines, and the Ludovika Campus will serve as the central venue. The organisers will create a “Maccabi Village” in Orczy Garden where prizes will be handed over every day, but there will also be exhibitions, concerts and film screenings.

The athletes taking part in the Games and further team members will spend 27,000 guest nights in Hungary in total. The government provided a budgetary grant of some five billion forints for the preparation and implementation of the Games.

(Cabinet Office of the Prime Minister/MTI)