Israeli Judokas Win Medals But Hide Flag in Abu Dhabi
JNS.org – At the Judo Grand Slam competition in Abu Dhabi over the weekend, Israeli judokas yielded to Arab pressure and donned uniforms bearing the International Judo Federation insignia rather than the Israeli flag or anything suggesting their Israeli nationality.
On Friday, after 40 years of boycotts, a judoka from Algeria agreed to face Shira Rishoni after being assured that the Israeli opponent did not represent Israel but rather the International Judo Federation.
On Saturday, Israeli judokas Yarden Gerbi and Sagi Muki won bronze medals, but at the medal awarding ceremony, they were honored without any mention of their Israeli nationality.
In response to the incident, Gerbi issued a statement saying: “I always represent my country, whether my flag is concealed or not….To win on this soil is far more important than refraining from competing at all.”
Israeli Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev said Saturday, “The Israeli team, like any other team in the world, has a right to represent Israel with its flag and its national anthem at any competition on any continent. I will not stand idly by….When the judo team returns to Israel, we will find out what happened there.”