An Israeli judoka won a gold medal on Thursday at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam judo tournament, but was forced to celebrate his victory under the International Judo Federation’s flag due to a ban by the emirate on the display of Israeli symbols.
The tournament organisers refused to raise the Israeli flag and play Israel’s national anthem, as judoka Tal Flicker stood on the podium to receive his gold medal in the men’s under-66 kilograms category.
At the podium, once receiving his gold medal, Flicker appeared to sing ‘Hatikvah’, Israel’s national anthem, as the International Judo Federation’s anthem played in the background.
Leader of the Scottish Conservatives, Ruth Davidson MSP, reacted to the Israeli judoka’s treatment on Twitter, stating that Flicker was “Unbelievably dignified in a really horrible situation”.
The same day, Israeli Judoka Gili Cohen won a bronze medal in the women’s under-114 pounds category and received the same treatment.
On Wednesday, the International Judo Federation ordered the UAE to treat Israeli athletes equally during the tournament.
In total, 32 UN member states (out of 193) do not recognise Israel. 18 of the 21 UN members of the Arab League do not recognise Israel, with the exception of Egypt, Jordan, and Mauritania.