Photo Credit: YouTube screenshot
Israeli judoka Tal Flicker after winning gold medal at IJF tournament in Abu Dhabi

Turkey did its best to prevent Israel’s judo team from competing in Abu Dhabi, but although it mounted an effort with major delays and refusals to issue visas, still failed to get the job done.

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Eleven hours later, exhausted perhaps, the Israeli team nevertheless found a way around the roadblock, got its visas anyway and managed to reach the competition in time. And won gold and bronze.

But even that didn’t inspire basic decency and good sportsmanship in the United Arab Emirates. On Thursday, when Tal Flicker of Herzliya won a gold medal at the judo tournament in the UAE capital, he was forced to stand under the flag of the International Judo Federation, rather than that of the Jewish State.

After Flicker won the top prize, the judoka was unable to hear Israel’s national anthem, which was not played, nor was the flag of the Jewish flag raised as were others. Instead, the “national anthem” of the International Judo Federation was played in the hall. Flicker sang Hatikva silently from his place anyway. Ditto for Gili Cohen when she was presented with her bronze medal.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Emmanuel Nahshon called it “an outrage. Shameful.” Not that it mattered a whit to any of the Arab nations.

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