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October 22, 1993 - Image 43

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1993-10-22

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Magic's Visit
Loses Luster

Jerusalem (JTA) — Israelis
engaged in the fight against
AIDS were ecstatic upon
hearing that Magic Johnson
would be visiting Israel .
They viewed Johnson's
visit — during which he was
scheduled to participate in
an exhibition game against
the Maccabi Tel Aviv
basketball team — as a
means for raising tens of
thousands of dollars for
AIDS research and edu-
cation, and for boosting the
level of AIDS awareness in
According to Israel's Min-
istry of Health, there have
been 249 reported cases of
AIDS in Israel. Another
1,064 people are reportedly
infected with HIV, the virus
that causes AIDS, but have
not developed the full-blown
But other health profes-
sionals say the number of in-
fected people in Israel is
much higher. The World
Health Organization places
the number of HIV-infected
Israelis at about 10,000.
But during his three-day
stay in Israel, Johnson par-
ticipated in only one charity
event and made just a few
references to the disease
that cut short his brilliant
career in the National
Basketball Association. In-
stead, Johnson spent most of
his time practicing for the
scheduled match-up between
members of Maccabi Tel
Aviv and Johnson's All-
Stars, a professional team
comprised of former NBA
players and some college
Johnson, a former NBA
superstar, retired in 1992
after testing positive for
HIV. Since then, he has
toured extensively, lecturing
about AIDS prevention and
raising money for research.
Though no one faulted
Johnson — all agreed that
he has contributed more to
the AIDS cause than any
other single person — some
blamed the Israeli govern-
ment's lack of initiative,
while others said Johnson's
business managers had been
"Magic Johnson's visit had
great potential, but the
11 government did almost
nothing to take advantage of
it," said Mikie Goldstein, a
board member of the Israel
AIDS Task Force.
"The level of AIDS
awareness in Israel is pretty
low, and the visit could have
gone a long way toward cor-
recting misconceptions." El

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