The biggest Jewish sporting event in Europe will be held in Germany for the first time, marking 50 years of Israel-Germany diplomatic relations and 70 years since the Holocaust at a time when relations are strained.
Germany abstained in 2012 on a United Nations vote on enhancing the United Nations status of the Palestinians. Israel had expected full support from Germany, as represented by a No vote.
Germany had, until then, voted in accordance with Israel and the United States on decisions concerning Israel in the United Nations. The Germany abstention reflects the emerging trend in European Union countries to recognize Palestinian aspirations.
The European Maccabi Games brings more than 2,000 Jewish athletes from some 30 countries to Berlin. The Maccabi Games were inaugurated in 1932.
The commemorative events include the opening of an Israel Center in Berlin on Jul 28, an event likely to draw Chancellor Angela Merkel and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu despite the lingering tension between the two countries.
Date written/update: 2015-01-14