The Daily Pennsylvanian is a student-run nonprofit.

Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on our site.

The effects of the violence in Israel were not just limited to politics or the battlefield in the Middle East.

Penn juniors Julie Siebert-Johnson and David Klatsky and senior Dan Solomito were all selected to participate in the 16th World Maccabiah Games, commonly known as the "Jewish Olympics."

However, due to factors concerning safety in Israel, all three of them declined their invitations prior to the start of the 21-day event held in Israel in July.

"I had a long talk with Dave, as he is a very good friend of mine, and we both felt the possible dangerous consequences outweighed the experiences of the Games," Siebert-Johnson said.

The women's track standout also consulted with her family and Penn assistant women's track coach Tony Tenisci before deciding.

Siebert-Johnson would have competed in the javelin throw, the event in which she holds the Penn record with a throw of 151'10".

"It was a tough decision because I was favored to win, and I trained a lot in preparation," Siebert-Johnson said. "But I truly believe it was the best one for me at this time."

Klatsky, who grew up with Siebert-Johnson in the town of Holmdel, N.J., had similar thoughts on the matter.

"There's too much violence going on there now that it wasn't worth it to me to put my life in jeopardy," Klatsky said.

Klatsky (7.0 points, 5.6 assists, 4.2 rebounds per game last year) and Solomito (3.0 points in 10.8 minutes) both play for the Penn men's basketball team and would have laced up their basketball shoes again at the Games.

The Games, which are recognized by the International Olympic Committee, ran from July 7 to July 27 in Israel, and are "a celebration of Jewish unity, culture and heritage through world athletic competition," according to a Maccabi USA/Sports for Israel statement. The organization is a sponsor for the American delegation.

Comments powered by Disqus

Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.