MembersIsrael at the Olympics

After the Israeli team failed to win a medal at the London Olympics four years ago, the goal was to bring home at least one prize from the games in Rio.

By Michael Selutin |
ALL SMILES: PM Netanyahu and his wife Sara welcome the bronze medalists from the judo team Photo: Flash90

And this humble objective was exceeded! Israel won two bronze medals, both in judo. The winners were a young man and woman, Ori Sasson and Yarden Gerbi.  A total of 47 athletes competed for Israel in 17 sports.

But typically when it comes to the Jewish state, sports could not be separated completely from politics. The Lebanese delegation refused to ride on the same bus with the Israelis, denying them entry and forcing them to take another vehicle. Olympics officials turned a blind eye and the Lebanese team was not disciplined.

Then, when Sasson faced off with Egyptian judoka Islam El Shehaby, the latter refused to shake hands. But the Israeli had the last word, defeating his opponent on the mat. This time, the International Olympics Committee reprimanded the Arab athlete and the Egyptian team sent him home.

Despite these...

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