By Jonathan Benedek/TPS
Jerusalem (TPS) – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with the members of the Israeli national judo team on Wednesday and praised them for their achievements, highlighting judokas Ori Sasson and Yarden Gerbi, who both won bronze medals at the 2016 Summer Olympics.
The prime minister focused on Sasson in particular, who made it to the spotlight when Egyptian opponent Islam El-Shehaby refused to bow or shake hands after losing to Sasson in the first round of the judo +100 kilogram category. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) sent El-Shehaby home following his unsportsmanlike behavior.
Netanyahu reiterated a message that was relayed to him by Egyptian officials who said that Shehaby’s actions in no way were representative of the whole Egyptian public.
“I received a message from Egypt yesterday,” Netanyahu informed the athletes. “They told me,‘I want you to know, Mr. Prime Minister, that other voices were heard in Egypt.’”
“This is an important milestone not only in sports, but in the framework of our relationship, which is not just on the governmental level, but other voices were also heard among the public,” continued Netanyahu. “Ori, your extended hand was not left without a response.”
“We know that Israel is on the global map, particularly in sports, especially Olympic sports,” declared Netanyahu.