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MEDIA RELEASE - AUGUST 2 2000

 from Supporters of Victims of the Macabiah Bridge Disaster

ISRAEL LAWN BOWLERS THREATEN MACCABIAH BOYCOTT

The Lawn Bowls Association of Israel (LBAI) in solidarity with the Australian victims unanimously resolved to link its participation in the next Maccabiah Games to the implementation of the recommendations made by the Knesset's Commission of Inquiry into the Maccabiah Bridge Disaster which occurred on July 14, 1997 in which four Australian Jews were killed and scores injured when the footbridge over the Yarkon River collapsed at the Opening Ceremony of the 15th Maccabiah Games.

The Lawn Bowls Association of Israel resolved:

1. That it welcomes the Report of the Knesset Committee of Inquiry into the matter of the bridge disaster which occurred at the 15th Maccabiah Games.

2. It appeals to all those mentioned in the Committee's Report, and particularly to the Maccabi World Union and to its senior officials, to make every genuine endeavour to implement the conclusions and the recommendations of the Committee.

3. It strongly identifies with the families of the victims of the tragedy, and shares in their suffering and bereavement. The sympathies and condolences of the lawn bowls community in Israel are addressed specifically to the family of the late Warren Zines, who participated in the 15th Maccabiah as a member of the Australian lawn bowls team, and who perished in the Disaster.

4. In the event that the recommendations of the Committee are not expeditiously implemented, it regrets that, on the grounds of conscience and as an expression of solidarity with the victims of the tragedy, it will be unable to see its way clear to confirming its participation in the forthcoming 16th Maccabiah Games.

5. However, if all the parties concerned take prompt convincing action to implement the conclusions and recommendations of the Committee, then the lawn bowls community in Israel expresses its profound wish and hope that Australia will once again agree to participate in the 16th Maccabiah Games. It is imperative that a spirit of brotherhood and mutual respect characterise this renewed gathering of the Jewish and Zionist world sporting family. The dreams and aspirations of the four Australian members who lost their lives in the bridge disaster will not be realised in the absence of the Australian delegation.

6. It calls upon other sporting bodies in Israel to support the findings and recommendations of the Committee's Report and to take appropriate action.

The Association is to circularise its resolution to sports organisations, the Israeli Government, newspapers, and to Maccabi World Union.

Upon hearing this major development an elated Colin Elterman, spokesperson for the victims most affected by the Disaster said:

"We applaud this stand of solidarity with the Australians. We welcome the sincere sentiments expressed in the resolutions which were adopted unanimously. Israeli sports persons are taking the lead, as they should. We also call upon other sports bodies both in Israel and in the Diaspora to take a similar firm moral stand and make it clear that they too will shun the next Maccabiah if all the Knesset's recommendations are not implemented. We feel greatly comforted that finally after three horrendous years we are receiving warm support from such an important sports body which participated in the last Maccabiah."

Email support to victims@physico.com.au 

 Fax (61)(2)9669-2137 Mobile (61)(0)412005787

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