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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.

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