A piece of Olympic history

August 7, 2021 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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While the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games are at their peak, and the Israeli delegation is achieving impressive results, a historic letter, dating back to 1952’s Olympic games in Helsinki in which the first Israeli delegation competed – has been found.

Courtesy: KKL-JNF archives

Back then, a still young and emerging country – Israel was lacking in financial resources and could not afford to send a fully-equipped athletic delegation – up to par with international standards. Into the picture came KKL-JNF, by then a well-founded Jewish organization, which made a 1000 Lira (Israeli Pound) contribution, so that the delegation would be able to take part and compete.

In the letter, the Olympic team expressed their deep gratitude for KKL-JNF’s Chairman, Avraham Granot’s willingness to provide financial support, sending “Heartfelt wishes from the first Israeli delegation to the Olympic Games”. The letter was signed by, among others, famous runner David Tabak and Yoav Ra’anan, an Israeli springboard diver who reached an impressive 9th place that year.

Ricky Dadon, KKL-JNF’s head of archives said: “We are thrilled to reveal a historical document dating back to 1952’s summer Olympics. At that time, the Israeli Olympic Committee requested financial support from KKL-JNF and, of course, like always –  KKL-JNF was up to the task.

We are proud of the way things turned out in hindsight, and certainly are proud of where we are today. KKL-JNF sends its congratulations to all of the Israeli athletes competing during these very moments, and we wish them much success in the future”.

The letter proves the organization provided (a then young) State of Israel with financial support, ultimately enabling its participation in the 1952 Olympic games.

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