Maccabi Team Australia Delegation Commemorates the 25 Year Anniversary of the 1997 Bridge Collapse tragedy.
Wearing team polo shirts marked with the 1997 Maccabiah logo in tribute, and with roses in hand, the entire Australian Maccabiah delegation marched as one in quiet reflection last Monday afternoon (Israel time) across the Yarkon River permanent footbridge, named "Bridge of Remembrance".
Laying wreaths next to the memorial stone, the delegation walked past the stadium in Ramat Gan that hosted the ’97 Opening Ceremony and observed a minute’s silence at a moving 25th-anniversary memorial service, to remember the four Australian team members who died, and the more than 60 who were injured, when the bridge they were walking on towards the stadium suddenly gave way, plunging them into the polluted river.
Asher Zines lit a memorial candle for his grandfather Warren Zines, Stephanie Tremigliozzi in memory of Elizabeth Sawicki, Maccabi World Union (MWU) chair Amir Peled for Yetty Bennett, and Sam Gamsu and Harry Procel for Greg Small,
Australia’s Ambassador to Israel, Paul Griffiths added, “For Australians, there will always be a bittersweet element to the Maccabiah Games.
“The 21st Games delegation of more than 530 athletes is an incredible celebration of the Australia-Israel relationship, and of Australia’s vibrant Jewish community”.
“But even 25 years later, it is impossible not to feel heartbreak over the tragic and avoidable deaths of Greg Small, Yetty Bennett, Elizabeth Sawicki, and Warren Zines.
“While the pain will never disappear, it is our duty to remember, and walking across the bridge together today was a humbling experience and a testament to the resilience in the Aussie spirit.”