Aug 15, 2011

Israel's First Olympic Ice Rink

Is Israel about to get it's first olympic ice rink? A Canadian philanthropist along with a Jewish American businessman are trying to make it so.

Is this a precursor to Israel eventually submitting a bid for the 2024 Olympic games (or any other year)?

Regardless, all the ice skater olim from Russia, Canada and the USA (and from other places), all the ice hockey players, who have all been frustrated until now having to either shlep up to Metula to play and skate in the one ice skating rink in the country, or to wait until various cities would put up temporary rinks for a few weeks at a  time every couple of years (with usually not-real ice) will soon enjoy the relative bliss of a centrally located ice rink of Olympic proportions in central Israel.

Ynetnews is reporting on the venture. The cities under consideration are Netanya, Rishon LeTzion and Bat Yam.

Ynetnews says:
Israelis wishing to go ice skating or compete in ice hockey are forced to travel all the way to the northern town of Metula, but this may soon change thanks to a Jewish American businessman and a Canadian philanthropist.

The two are holding talks with at least three cities in a bid to build the first Olympic ice stadium in central Israel, including Netanya, Rishon Lezion and Bat Yam.

The popularity of the ice hockey sport in Israel has been growing in recent years. Sidney Greenberg is a Jewish Canadian philanthropist who supports this sport in Israel.

He has been funding a Jewish-Arab ice hockey school in northern Israel with hundreds of thousands of dollars and sponsored the recent participation of children from a Bat Yam hockey club at an international tournament in Quebec, in which they won a gold medal.

Greenberg managed to convince Len Silver, a Jewish businessman from Los Angeles who specializes in the establishment and management of ice hockey stadiums, to set up such an arena in Israel.

Silver has been negotiating in the past few months with the Netanya, Rishon Lezion and Bat Yam municipalities.

The Netanya Municipality said in response, "We would be glad to see such a unique project being built in the city. The Rishon Lezion Municipality said, "It's a nice idea which is being positively considered."

The city of Bat Yam said in a statement, "This was the municipality's initiative, which is in advanced stages. It would be our pleasure to have the stadium built here, especially as Bat Yam has an outstanding ice hockey team."
I don't think Rishon could possibly find a press statement that would make them seem less interested.

Personally, I think Jerusalem or Bet Shemesh would be far better for the rink. Wherever it ends up, it will be better than shlepping out to Metula..

1 comment:

  1. I remember that when I was a student at TAU in the late 1970s my friends and I went to the Tel Aviv fairgrounds one hot summer's afternoon to try out the temporary "ice" skating rink that had been set up there.

    The skating surface was some kind of plastic, and while it was acceptable to my Israeli buddies it was a far cry from the proper ice rinks I had used in Britain and in Canada as a child.

    Here in Jersey (no, not New Jersey; just Jersey - an island in the English Channel)we have had opportunities to exercise on temporary ice rinks - which are a real תענוג.


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