(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) Morocco refused entry visas to Israel’s national judo team ahead of the Nov. 11 World Championships Open in Marrakech.
The visa ban comes on the heels of similar problems that arose prior to the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam judo tournament in October, when the host nation—the United Arab Emirates (UAE)—banned the Israeli flag and national anthem at the competition. Israeli judoka Tal Flicker, who won a gold medal at the tournament, sang the Israeli anthem, “Hatikvah,” to himself on the podium.
Additionally, UAE athlete Rashad Almashjari refused to shake hands with Israeli competitor Tohar Butbul’s after losing to him in the tournament’s first round.
The International Judo Federation sent a letter to the president of the UAE Judo Federation chastising the organization for its discriminatory treatment of Israeli athletes and demanding that “all delegations, including the Israeli delegation, be treated absolutely equally in all aspects, without any exception.”
The UAE apologized to Israel for the handshake snub, but not for the ban on Israeli symbols.