Thousands of athletes in Jerusalem for "Jewish Olympics"

JERUSALEM (AP) Thousands of athletes from around the world are parading in Jerusalem at the opening ceremony of the 20th Maccabiah Games, known as the ''Jewish Olympics.''

Organizers said the 2017 games are the largest ever, with some 10,000 athletes from 80 countries taking part. The games are an international competition for Jewish and Israeli athletes held every four years. Israel had the largest delegation this year, with 2,400 athletes.

Athletes marched and waved their national flags as music blasted from speakers at the packed stadium Thursday night.

President Reuven Rivlin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attended the ceremony.

The first Maccabiah Games were held in 1932. They are named for the Maccabees, a family of Jewish warriors who defeated foreign rulers and won independence in the 2nd century B.C.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide — from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Grant Wahl, Andy Staples and more — delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.