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Tens of thousands of tourists from all over Europe, including hundreds and even thousands of Israelis, are expected to arrive in Belarus this week to take part in the biggest sporting event of the year in Europe.

 In light of these forecasts, local authorities are preparing electric buses to transport guests from place to place quickly and in an environmentally friendly manner. In addition, the authorities in Minsk have allocated about 2,000 hotel rooms and hostels for tourists and fans who will come to watch the games. In addition, the Ministry of Sports and Tourism announced a special policy aimed at facilitating the entry of tourists into the country. During the European Games, tourists who have a ticket to the Games will be able to enter the country without a visa.

 Ambassador of the Republic of Belarus in Israel, H.E. Vladimir Skvortsov: "We expect that hundreds and even thousands of Israelis will visit Minsk as tourists and spectators of the Games." The Belarusian capital, which celebrated its 950th birthday in 2017, is today a modern city that is growing rapidly.

The 2nd edition of the European Games 2019 will take place in the capital of Belarus, Minsk, beginning this coming Friday from 21 to 30 June. This year’s biggest pan-European sports forum will see more than 4,000 athletes from 50 countries competing for 200 sets of medals in 15 sports (23 disciplines) and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics berth.

"We welcome the active participation in the European Games of the Israeli delegation, with whom we have deep historical ties," said Ambassador of the Republic of Belarus in Israel, H.E. Vladimir Skvortsov at a press conference in Tel Aviv last night (Sunday, 16 June 2019) co-hosted by the Embassy of the Republic of Belarus in Israel and the Olympic Committee of Israel. He offered an interesting angle between the two countries: "Many in Israel know that a number of prominent figures in Israel were born in Belarus, including politicians, scientists, artists, and Nobel laureates. Suffice to say that Belarus "gave" Israel three presidents and three prime ministers. It is important to remember that in the history of our country there was a time when Yiddish was one of the official languages in the country, and, before World War II, Jewish people made up more than half of the population in several cities in the country."

 

 

Ambassador Skvortsov addressed the fact that Belarus is also preparing for Israeli tourists during the European Games: "Belarus, located in the center of Europe, is a land of thousands of lakes and rivers, historic forests, ancient castles, and palaces, waiting for tourists from all over Europe, and of course from Israel as well. We anticipate hundreds and even thousands of Israelis to visit Minsk as tourists and spectators of the Games. The capital of Belarus, which marked its 950th anniversary in 2017 is today a modern city that is growing rapidly."

The Ambassador added: "Despite the principle that participation in the Games is what is most important, I wish the delegation to Minsk, first and foremost, to win, to reach new achievements in sports and to achieve new personal records. I hope they meet their hosts, the Belarusian athletes, on the podium, most likely in the sports where the two countries are traditionally strong, as happened last time in the first European Games which took place in Baku, Azerbaijan, four years ago."

Igal Carmi, President of the Olympic Committee of Israel: "I am certain that the games will be a success for Belarus and for us. Europe is very important to us, not just for the Olympic Games. This mission is important to us a year before the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020. Athletes will see how everything is organized. We expect 3-4 medals and are very excited."

 

The 2nd European Games

The idea behind the European Games is to keep Europe in the heart of sports. Belarus will welcome athletes, sports enthusiasts and visitors from around Europe with open arms to experience the best of Belarusian sportsmanship, culture, and hospitality. This year, eight of the 23 disciplines will provide athletes with a chance to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Games and pave the way to Tokyo, Japan.

 

Belarus welcomes guests from all over Europe

The Ministry of Sports and Tourism expects 30,000 visitors to attend the Games. With this in mind, the local authorities are deploying their electro buses for the upcoming Games to transport guests in an eco-friendly and fast manner. In addition, the Minsk authorities have allocated approximately 2,000 hotel and hostel rooms for tourists and fans during the Games. The Minister of Sports and Tourism stated: “From 10 June to 10 July 2019, tourists carrying a valid ticket to the Games can enter Belarus without a visa.” This way the procedure of visiting Belarus during the Games will be easier. A total of 74 countries can enter the country visa-free during the European Games.

Belarus is the homeland of three Israeli Presidents: Chaim Weizmann, Zalman Shazar and Shimon Peres, and of two Prime Ministers, Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir. Belarus is also home to important intellectuals and leaders, including Berl Katznelson, Yosef Haim Brenner, Menachem Ussishkin, Abba Ahimeir, Yitzhak Tabenkin, Hanna Rovina, Eliezer Ben Yehuda, the founder of Tel Aviv, Akiva Aryeh Weiss, and many others who have a central place in the canon of contemporary Israeli-Jewish history.

 

For more information on the Games, visit: https://minsk2019.by/en

 

 Photos by Silvia G. Golan