Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

An Egyptian Discovers that When an Israeli is Pricked, She Indeed Bleeds

June 6, 2013 12:00 pm 18 comments

Ilana Kartysh wrestling. Photo: barenakedislam.

“If you prick us, do we not bleed? if you tickle us, do we not laugh? if you poison us, do we not die? and if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?”. – (Act III, scene I).” William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice

The only revenge Israeli wrestler Ilana Kartysh exacted on her Egyptian opponent, Enas Mostafa, in the Golden Grand Prix tournament in Italy – after Mostafa refused to shake her hand and, during the match, reportedly broke two of her fingers and bit her on the neck – was emerging victorious in the bout and, having secured the gold, basking in her national anthem as she stood on the podium.

Kartysh, 22, who competed in the the  67-kilogram (147.7 pound) weight category, experienced an incident unlike any other in her career.

Per Ynet:

“In wrestling you must shake hands at the beginning of a match,” Kartysh said. “But not only did [Egyptian wrestler Enas Mostafa] refuse to shake my hand, she even broke my fingers and bit me until I began bleeding.”

However, she continued, “Because of her dirty behavior my desire to beat her grew stronger.”

Kartysh said she felt “some kind of hatred” directed at her by Mostafa, but that she did not know whether it was political or personal.

“It’s never happened to me before,” the 22-year-old wrestler said. “She really attacked me.”

The gold medal that Kartysh won was Israel’s first in a Golden Grand Prix tournament.

At the end of the match, the Egyptian again refused to shake hands with her.

Unlike other sports-related news in the region which is contextualized as possessing wider political significance, this story of racism during an athletic competition wasn’t reported in the mainstream media.  Moreover, as I have argued previously, it is simply impossible to accurately understand the politics of the Middle East, and Israel’s relations with its neighbors, without fully appreciating the antisemitic venom which courses through the veins of otherwise sober Arab citizens.

No, this ugly episode on a wrestling mat in Italy was not, to be sure, merely an act of poor sportsmanship.  Mostafa is the product of a culture with anti-Jewish racism so pervasive that the country’s President could, with total impunity, refer to Jews as “sons of apes and pigs” and sermonize to parents on the importance of “nursing their children” with Jew hatred.

The Jewish community in Egypt, which numbered 80,000 in 1948, is now all but extinct.

Indeed even such serious domestic problems as food shortages and an erosion of political freedoms post-Mubarak haven’t seemed to redirect the focus of their animosity.  The ‘Arab Spring’ hasn’t even minimally unhardened their hearts.

Kartysh’s comments after the match included the following.

“I can’t even describe how proud I felt hearing ‘Hatikva’ (Israel‘s national anthem) playing in the end.”

The Egyptian wrestler learned that when an Israeli Jew is pricked, she indeed bleeds, and that when she is so wronged she will avenge such an indignity by persevering and – in a display of pride, defiance and resilience – emerging victorious.


Kartysh is pictured in the center. Mostafa is immediately to her right.

Adam Levick is the managing editor of CiF Watch, an affiliate of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA)


  • Dear Ilana,Bravo! If you run into her again break her leg!

  • isaac brajtman

    She should have been disqualified for not shaking hands and banned for biting. Who needs people that her in sport ?

  • well done Ilana!! Congrats!

  • Reminds me of Reagan’s policy towards the USSR: “We win. They lose.”

    And by the way, who came out looking the “ass”?

  • The caption on the picture at the end should read, Mostafa on her left. Her left our right.) I’m pretty sure the second place winner isn’t Egyptian and that the third place winner has an Egypt flag draped around her self.

    otherwise, great article and interesting to know that this happened. Glad Israeli won.

  • Congratulations Ilana Kartysh!
    We are proud of You in Israel!

  • Tamer Ibrahim

    I love this Merchant of Venice quote.

    Do you REALLY believe that Shakespeare meant for this character to played for sympathy as is done in most major US productions?

    Shakespeare guys. At the time, Europe wasn’t treating the Jews very well.

    Just like Dickens. Do you really believe that Fagen is supposed to be portrayed as the comic baffoon like the US productions?

    • Sonia Willats

      You are so right, Tamer. The Europeans e.g. the Crusaders, were as nutty as radical Islam is. No one sane opposes gentle Islam. It is the Islam that feels justified killing innocents in the name of God that is opposed. The quote from Shakespeare seems apt to me.

    • adam immediately contradicts the anti-semitic quote by stating that the israeli girl did not seek revenge

      • you are spot on about the potential for anti-semitic stereotyping in european literature.

        thats why there is no shortage of material for organisations like and to combat.

        in the middle east the anti-semitism in print ofcourse is not quite so subtle – which might owe to the fairly rabid comportment we see from many of their populace, including well-travelled, privileged sportspersons.

        this makes the job for organisations like and easier, but no less voluminous.

  • Fredric M. London

    The Egyptian banned? The ‘mainstream’ press did not even report the incident. There is no way they would punish the Egyptian. Now if, G-d forbid, the Israeli girl had committed the crime, or even refused to shake hands, she would have been banned from ever competing in a match again, Israel would have been rebuked, and the mainstream press would have been all over it.

    The press is, unfortunately, our enemy; and has been ever since it jettisoned reasonable reporting standards to become cheerleaders for the terrorists.

  • Joyce Elais

    Surely this Egyptian woman should be banned for life from competitive sport. This goes beyond bad sportsmanship. This young woman is a vindictive nasty piece of work. Says a lot about Egypt when they have ambassadors like her representing them.

  • Why was this wrestler not disqualified for refusing the first handshake? That should be required protocol.

  • Where did the Egyptian wrestler end up? Did she make it to a medal?

  • Straightshooter

    Well done, Ilana, you’ve done us proud.

  • If the ten plagues didn’t unharden the heart of Pharaoh, why would the ‘Arab Spring’ have any effect on today’s Egyptians?

  • Congratulations Ilana Kartysh!!!!

    You make me, an American PROUD of you and Israel. A fine example of true sportsmanship! When vengeance is left to the Lord, He gives wisdom and strength to over come!!! Evil forgets, goodness is empowered whenever evil strikes. The Egyptian should be FINED AND BANNED from any further competitions!!!

    • I would like to say that Cheryl’s comments are very much the same as I (also an American) felt after reading the article.

      I’d like to add that we can pray that the young lady from Egypt one day recalls that day as the turning point that made her reconsider, then repent from the hatred with which she had been raised.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.

Current day month ye@r *


  • Arts and Culture Israel Jerry Seinfeld to Make Comedy Debut in Israel

    Jerry Seinfeld to Make Comedy Debut in Israel – Famed Jewish-American comedian and actor Jerry Seinfeld is slated to make his comedic debut in Israel later this year. Seinfeld, who was born in Brooklyn to Jewish parents from the Ukraine and Syria, will perform in Tel Aviv’s Mitvtachim Menorah Arena on Dec. 19 as part of a world tour. The comedian is most known for his enormously popular NBC sitcom Seinfeld, which ran from 1989-1998 and is widely considered one of the greatest TV series of all time. […]

    Read more →
  • Food Israel New Video Shows American Kids Reviewing Israeli Food After Tasting Dishes for First Time (VIDEO)

    New Video Shows American Kids Reviewing Israeli Food After Tasting Dishes for First Time (VIDEO)

    A new video circulating online shows eight American children reacting — mostly positively — to their first taste of the famed Israeli eggplant salad/dip, known in Hebrew as “salat hatzilim” and in other parts of the Levant as baba ganoush. The clip, created by, features the youngsters trying a variety of exotic dishes from other countries as well, such as Hawaiian poi, Colombian pork belly and Russian borscht. The Israeli delicacies served include schnitzel, slices of pita, hummus and the baba ganoush salad. “If someone […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Features Pioneers/Philanthropists ‘Start-Up Nation’ Israel to Host Forbes Magazine Young Entrepreneurs Summit

    ‘Start-Up Nation’ Israel to Host Forbes Magazine Young Entrepreneurs Summit – Forbes magazine announced Tuesday that it will host its Under 30 EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) Summit in Israel for the first time in April 2016. The conference is expected to bring together some 600 young entrepreneurs, with 200 from Europe, 200 from the U.S., and 200 from Israel. The summit has been hosted in Philadelphia for the past two years. It will include presentations, speeches, a pitch competition, and cultural immersion opportunities in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Beliefs and concepts What’s That Huge White Bridal Dress Floating Over the Tower of David?

    What’s That Huge White Bridal Dress Floating Over the Tower of David? –  “What’s that huge white bridal dress floating over the Tower of David?” That’s what visitors to Jerusalem’s Old City asked last week. The wedding gown, created by leading Israeli artist Motti Mizrachi, is part of the 2nd Jerusalem Biennale for Contemporary Jewish Art, an event that blew into town as the Sukkot holiday got underway. Mizrachi, who lives and works in Tel Aviv, created the dress that floats majestically over the Tower of David, the main exhibition site […]

    Read more →
  • Features Opinion The Top 10 Places to Visit in Israel

    The Top 10 Places to Visit in Israel

    Israel is a holiday destination on many travelers’ bucket lists. No matter the style of holiday you are after, Israel has the answer. Whether you prefer to relax by the beach, hike up mountains in the desert, visit religious and historical sites, eat your way through the country or just enjoy some retail therapy, your journey through Israel will be one to remember. While there are obviously so many things to see and do, here is a list of 10 of […]

    Read more →
  • Pioneers/Philanthropists US & Canada Jewish American Fashion Mogul Ralph Lauren to Step Down as CEO

    Jewish American Fashion Mogul Ralph Lauren to Step Down as CEO – Jewish American fashion mogul Ralph Lauren announced his plan to step down as chief executive officer of the renowned fashion brand. The head of Gap Inc’s Old Navy brand will take over the position. The 75-year-old Lauren, who founded Ralph Lauren Corp. in 1967, will continue to serve as executive chairman and will continue leading the fashion house’s design team, according to a statement by the company. After the announcement, Ralph Lauren shares rose 3.79 percent while Gap shares […]

    Read more →
  • Featured Sports US & Canada Jewish Boxer Dustin ‘White Tiger’ Fleischer Scores Fourth Knockout Victory

    Jewish Boxer Dustin ‘White Tiger’ Fleischer Scores Fourth Knockout Victory

    Jewish boxer Dustin Fleischer, who said his quest is to become the first world champion descended from a Holocaust survivor, stayed unbeaten with a first-round knockout. Fleischer, nicknamed “The White Tiger,” moved to 4-0 with the defeat of Ira Frank on Saturday night in Beach Haven, New Jersey, near his home, he reported after the fight on his Facebook page. The 26-year-old welterweight has won all his bouts by knockout. Read full story at JTA.

    Read more →
  • Featured Israel Pioneers/Philanthropists Meet Israel’s Santa Claus, the Trustee Tasked With Handing Out Leona Helmsley’s Billions (INTERVIEW)

    Meet Israel’s Santa Claus, the Trustee Tasked With Handing Out Leona Helmsley’s Billions (INTERVIEW)

    Renowned New York attorney Sandor (Sandy) Frankel, one of four trustees of the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, was in Israel earlier this month to look at additional philanthropic options and to observe the progress of those endeavors already funded – to the tune of multi-millions. Frankel, who recently joined the prestigious Park Avenue law firm Otterbourg P.C., met with Israeli politicians and other bigwigs to get a sense from them about which projects in the country […]

    Read more →