An Israeli athlete has won a gold medal at a Grand Slam competition in Abu Dhabi, but the tournament organisers refused to play Israel’s national anthem.
Tal Flicker sang the national anthem himself after organisers refused to play it during his ceremony. They also refused to display the Israeli flag after he won.
Instead they displayed the International Judo Federation Flag and play a generic anthem.
The organisers said that, due to security reasons, the Israelis can’t have their flag on their judo uniform and instead of having “ISR” by their names on the scoreboard and on their backs.
The same day, Gili Cohen won a bronze medal in the women’s under-114 pounds category and received the same treatment.
Earlier this month, Israeli team members were informed that they would not be permitted to compete under any Israeli symbols for security reasons.
Prior to leaving for Abu Dhabi, Flicker posted a photo of himself on Facebook wearing an Israeli uniform.
“We’ll do anything to get to Abu Dhabi and end up on the podium,” he wrote. “Everyone in the world knows where we are from and which country we represent. I am the most proud to be Israeli.”
As part of the boycott campaign against Israel, Israeli athletes and teams are barred from competitions played in Arab countries.
In many worldwide competitions where Israel does take part, such as the Olympics, Arab and Muslim competitors avoid competing against Israelis.
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