(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) The organizers of the 2018 Giro d'Italia, a major international cycling race that is slated to start in Israel, on Thursday removed wording that had promoted the starting point of the race as “west Jerusalem” rather than just “Jerusalem.”
More than 175 of the world’s best cyclists are expected to travel to Israel next May for the start of the race, which marks the first time the Giro will venture outside Europe.
The first stage of the race is slated to begin with a 6.3-mile individual time trial in Jerusalem, followed by a 103-mile road stage between Haifa and Tel Aviv as well as a 143-mile road stage between Be’er Sheva and Eilat. The race will then head to southern Italy.
Israeli government ministers had expressed outrage over the organizers’ initial wording, suggesting that the move was a capitulation to Palestinian efforts to prove that eastern Jerusalem is not part of Israel.
Tourism Minister Yariv Levin and Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev informed Giro officials that unless they revised the statement on their website, Israel would not cooperate or co-sponsor the race.
“There is no ‘east’ and ‘west’ in Jerusalem,” the ministers said in a joint statement. “There is only one, united Jerusalem. This wording violates the [Giro’s] agreement with the Israeli government.”
After the wording on the race's starting point was changed to simply “Jerusalem,” Levin and Regev said they were "happy about the quick decision to remove the term 'west Jerusalem' from the race organizers' official publications."