The Immigrant Absorption Ministry will try to persuade as many Maccabiah Games athletes arriving in Israel as possible to stay in the country and make it their home after the event ends.
Some 5,700 participants from over 60 countries have come to Israel to attend the 18th Maccabiah Games, which officially open on Monday, July 13.
Any athlete or staff member who decides to make aliyah will receive an absorption package that exceeds the one currently being given to athlete olim, and which will include a one-time NIS 4,000 (roughly $1,000) grant to purchase sports gear, scholarships for students to the tune of NIS 1,200 ($300) per month for nine months and assistance with job placement.
"The Immigrant Absorption Ministry welcomes the thousands of athletes who have come to Israel to take part in the Maccabiah Games," said Absorption Minister Sofa Landver. "Today they represent their countries, but I hope that in the next Games many of them will march under the Israeli flag and become an inseparable part of the Israeli Olympics team."
Ministry officials said that the Maccabiah has always served as an opportunity for sportsmen to look into the possibility of making aliyah. Many have indeed moved to Israel, became integrated and have had a significant contribution to Israeli sport and society.