Maccabi South Africa has had a long and successful involvement at the Maccabiah, beginning in 1935 to the present. The delegation has grown from just 22 persons at the 2nd Maccabiah to our largest group to date of 378 in 2013, which was the largest team from the diaspora relative to the size of the community. In 1993 Team Maccabi SA competed in 22 sports, the highest number of sports to date for SA. At the most recent Games in 2017, a delegation of 295 participated in 19 sports.

Since 1935 Team Maccabi SA has accumulated a significant tally of medals, broken many records and proudly represented South Africa in a variety of sports from athletics to water polo. Tennis is the only Maccabi SA sport to have been represented at every single Games since 1935, where the team won their first medal and have won multiple medals at every Maccabiah since then. In 2009, SA’s oldest medal winner, 84-year-old Isaac Joffe, took home bronze in the Grand Masters Doubles event.

In the modern era, SA has won medals for golf, hockey, lawn bowls, squash and tennis at every Games these Maccabi SA sports have competed in, while in the 1950-60’s, SA athletes won medals for boxing, weightlifting and wrestling at all the Maccabiah they attended.

To date, Team Maccabi SA has sent 3486 persons to attend 19 Maccabiah, winning a total of 827 medals, including 288 golds.

Since 1950 Maccabi SA sportswomen have grown significantly in numbers and strength. The Junior Programme which launched in the 1980’s has also prospered with 65% under 25’s at the 2013 Games, and in the same year SA also won medals in the inaugural Paralympic events.

In addition to the Maccabiot, Team Maccabi SA is also invited to participate in Regional Games, including the Pan American Games in South America and the European Maccabi Games.

Click on the relevant event below for a summary of the SA delegation and their results.

Maccabi Games, Israel

Regional Maccabi Games

Maccabi SA Sports Awards

Yakir Award Winners (South Africa)

The Yakir Award is the highest honour bestowed by Maccabi World Union for outstanding services to Maccabi. Since 1993 it is presented every four years at the Maccabiah. Seven South Africans have received Yakir Awards:

1985 Award 21 Ian Maltz
1986 Award 32 Louis Gecelter
1989 Award 48 Barney Kellen
1991 Award 55 Monty Manoim
1997 Award 74 George Mendelsohn
2009 Award 105 Jeanne Futeran
2013 Award 121 Mervyn Tankelowitz

The International Jewish Sports Hall Of Fame

The International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame/Yad Le’ish Hasport Hayehudi was formally inaugurated on 7 July 1981 in Netanya, Israel. Its predecessor, the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, was founded in the United States in May 1979. The original Hall of Fame included only American honourees. The International Hall of Fame honours athletes and sportsmen and sportswomen throughout the world.

Although not affiliated to Maccabi, the organisations have much in common. The purpose of the IJSHOF is to recognise and honour Jewish men and women, worldwide, who have accomplished extraordinary achievements in sports and to honour those who have made significant contributions to society through sports.

IJSHOF is a partnership between the Wingate Institute for Physical Education and Sports and some of the world’s leading sports authorities, and interested, active and philanthropic Jews.

For more information go to

Elected members:

These are Jewish men and women worldwide who have achieved extraordinary accomplishments in sports and others who have made significant contributions to society through sports.

Ten South African sportspersons have been elected, including one woman, four rugby players, two officials/administrators and most recently rugby referee, Jonathan Kaplan. Kaplan was formally inducted during the 2017 Maccabiah in Israel.

1983: Jody Scheckter (Motor Racing)

1985: Harry Getz (Official/Administrator)

1991: Dr Ali Bacher (Cricket – Player and Administrator)

1994: Dr Wilf Rosenberg (Rugby)

1995: Shaun Tomson (Surfing)

1998: Okey Geffin (Rugby)

1999: Syd Nomis (Rugby)

2009: Joel Stransky (Rugby)

2010: Ilana Kloss (Tennis)

2016: Jonathan Kaplan (Referee)