(JTA) – Ahead of the 20th Maccabiah Games in Israel, 20 motorcyclists from Europe will ride from London to Jerusalem to express solidarity with the Jewish state.
The inaugural Ride for Solidarity initiative is scheduled to depart from the British capital on June 13 and reach Israel in time for the opening of the Maccabiah, which is often labeled the “Jewish Olympics,” on July 4, according to trip organizers.
In Israel, the riders plan to travel from the Golan Heights in its very north to Eilat in the south while carrying the Maccabiah torch, delivering it in time for the opening ceremony in Jerusalem as per an agreement with the event organizers at Maccabi World Union, Jozsef Horvath, a Hungarian member of Maccabi and a co-organizer of the bike ride, told JTA.
The itinerary includes stops in France, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Greece, according to Maximillian Marco Katz, a biking enthusiast from Bucharest and an activist against anti-Semitism in Romania who initiated the solidarity ride.
“Europe has become a target for Islamic terrorism just as Israel has been for decades already,” Katz said in a statement. “Our riders’ mission is to show, in light of this, greater support within Europe for Israel. This is our way of bringing the message from Europe.”
Katz also said the group comprises some non-Jewish members.
“We’re all Zionists,” he said.
In Frankfurt, Germany, the mayor will welcome the riders. They will also commemorate Holocaust victims at the former Dachau concentration camp, and hold a ceremony at Nuremberg, the city where Nazi war criminals were tried. In Munich, the riders will hold another ceremony on the 25th anniversary of the murder there of 11 Israelis by Palestinian terrorists during the 1972 Olympic Games.
The 2017 Maccabiah, an event that takes place every four years, is expected to be the largest ever with 10,000 participants from dozens of countries.