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Shimon Mizrahi's eulogy for Leon Wandel

09/03/2022
HOME · News · Shimon Mizrahi's eulogy for Leon Wandel
Shimon Mizrahi's eulogy for Leon Wandel
My dear friend and brother Leon,

With great sorrow I received last night the bitter news of your sudden death.

Only last Saturday we talked on the phone as we have always done for over five decades and talked about the possibility of meeting soon in Brussels.

It was in 1970 when we first met at the Dan Hotel in Tel Aviv, when you served at the time as the manager of the Belgian national basketball team, and we talked about the possibility that your team will participate in the Maccabiah games. Since then, we have formed a wonderful friendship that is second to none, a true brotherhood, when the distance between Brussels and Tel Aviv had no meaning.

Leon, you have always been a proud Jew who carried the name of Israel with great pride and served as a faithful ambassador of our country during the wars that took place in Israel, and you were always among the first to come here to support and express full sympathy.

I will never forget that snowy night in Munich at the home of FIBA Secretary General William Jones, where the issue of the refusal of the Soviet Union teams to play against Maccabi Tel Aviv in Israel and not even host us in their countries was discussed. When the opportunity arose to hold the games in a neutral country, you were the one who took it upon yourself to organize the games and so it was at Vilvoorde and Virton near Brussels in Belgium, and you paved the way to our first European Champions cup in Belgrade in 1977.

Even during the Gulf War in 1991, you took it upon yourself to organize the game in Belgium when teams were afraid to come to Israel, and for all this, the Maccabi Tel Aviv Basketball Club owes you huge thanks and appreciation.

Needless to say, you always travelled to the European finals we have reached and also to our trips to the US for games against NBA teams and even to the pre-season training camps we held in Europe.

You have served in many prestigious positions at FIBA Europe, and among other things served as the manager of the European All-Star team that first came to Israel for a tribute game to the late Tani Cohen Mintz.

Leon, if you only knew how much I would miss you and the phone calls with you every Thursday before every game in Europe and the calls at the end of the game and your professional analysis.

Rest in peace my dear friend, you will always be in my heart.

My sincere condolences to your children.

Shimon


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