Honored: 2009
Location: Tel Aviv, Israel

Michael Kevehazi was chairman of the World Maccabi Union from 1986 to 1994.

He devoted much of his adult life to MWU. Kevehazi was Maccabi’s Honorary Treasurer 1968-1988, Chairman of the Maccabiah (Games) Organizing Committees of the 11th Games (1981) and 12th Games (1985), and Honorary President of the 15th (1997), 16th (2001) and 17th (2005) Maccabiot.

There was no major feature or tiny detail of MWU that did not bear the stamp of Kevehazi’s leadership, including development of Kfar Maccabiah, whose Board of Directors he chaired from 1994 to 2002. His efforts made the Kfar (the Maccabiah Village in the Tel Avis suburb of Ramat Gan) the center of MWU and the national Maccabi Sports Federation in Israel.

He was a major force in modernizing MWU‘s international profile, spreading Maccabi throughout the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.

The remarkable growth of the Maccabiah in scope and participants was inspired by Kevehazi’s vision and influence. In 1969, not long after he made aliyah from Great Britain, 1,456 athletes representing 27 national delegations competed. In 1993, the number of athletes had almost quadrupled, as 5,061 participants representing 48 countries took part in the Games.

In 1997, Kevehazi received MWU’s Yakir Maccabi Award, the Movement’s highest honor.

Kevehazi was born in Budapest in 1932. Surviving the ghetto, fascist Arrow Cross and camp deportations, he emigrated to England in 1947 at the age of 15. Introduced to Maccabi London by his cousin, Fred Worms (the IJSHOF 2001 Lifetime honoree), he quickly became a leader within the organization, serving as its Honorary Treasurer and Secretary during the 1950s and 60s. He organized the Maccabi Great Britain delegation to the 1965 7th Maccabiah.

Michael and Gene Kevehazi and their four children made aliyah in 1968. An established auditor in the UK, Michael took a senior position with Israel’s Kesselman and Kesselman (PriceWaterhouseCooper), and brought his sharp business acumen into play as Honorary Treasurer of the 1969 8th Maccabiah.

Years later, the Israeli leader played a major role in re-developing Maccabi Hungary, which had been forced to shutter during World War II. In recognition of his efforts, he was named Honorary President of Maccabi Hungary.

Michael Kevehazi died January 18, 2007. At the time of his passing he was managing partner of Kesselman & Kesselman, Israel’s largest accounting firm.

The Lifetime Achievement Award is presented annually, honoring those individuals who have made significant contributions to the State of Israel and society through sports.

Of Blessed Memory

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