Jewish 100, 2015: Nili Block – Arts and Culture
Nili Block, whose family moved from Maryland to Israel when she was a young child, is now a women’s world champion in the rough-and-tough sport of kickboxing.
She was crowned champion in the 60-kilogram (132-pound) senior division (ages and older) after winning four grueling three-round matches at the Kickboxing World Championships in Belgrade, Serbia. In recognition of her achievement, the Federation of Non-Olympic Competitive Sports in Israel, known as Ayelet, named Block as the Jewish state’s female athlete of the year for 2015.
Block, who describes herself as a “traditional” Jew, was introduced to kickboxing at the age of 10. Her mother, then an officer in Israel’s Border Police force, wanted her daughter to learn self-defense.
On being world champion, she has said: “It is such a good feeling. … It’s so special to become a symbol in the world as a Jew and as an Israeli.”