Photo Credit: Amit Shissel, Israel Olympic Committee
Team Israel Judo - 2002 Olympics

Israel is celebrating the victory of the country’s mixed team in judo which won a bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics on Saturday.

Israel beat Russia 4:1 in the group event that was held for the first time this year, and 11 of its team members were awarded a medal.

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President Yitzhak Herzog called the Israeli judo team on Saturday night and congratulated them on their achievement.

In his conversation with the team’s coach Oren Smadja, a former Olympic medalist, Herzog pointed out that these medals are the “closing of the exciting circle” with the team’s win, exactly 29 years after Smadja’s own winning of a bronze medal for judo at the Barcelona Olympics.

“What an honor! You brought a sweet and exciting victory. I know you worked very hard for this moment,” said Herzog.

“Judoka Sagi Muki said that ‘unity has won,’” the president added. “You brought the beautiful Israeli spirit of ‘Together’ to Tokyo. This is an important lesson for all of us – our strength is in our unity.”

“I am proud of you and the entire State of Israel is proud of you,” he concluded, adding that he is waiting for the entire Israeli delegation to return and be able to celebrate the victories together at the President’s House.

Afterward, the president also spoke with Hananel Cohen, the father of surfer Yoav Cohen, who finished the Olympic Men’s RS:X Windsurfing competition in fourth place after struggling and finishing just one point away from a medal.

Avishag Semberg’s taekwondo bronze medal in the women’s 49kg category last week was Israel’s first medal at the Tokyo 2021 games.

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