(November 18, 2019 / JNS) Israel’s national anthem “Hatikvah” was played in an Abu Dhabi sporting arena on Saturday after Israeli athlete Alon Leviev, 17, was presented the gold medal at the Ju-jitsu World Championship.
Leviev, in the juniors 55-kilogram-and-under weight category, beat an athlete from the United Arab Emirates’ capital city in the final after competing against athletes from Pakistan, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan. Following the medal distribution, “Hatikvah” was blasted in the arena.
The UAE changed its policy last year of banning athletes from Israel from using Israeli symbols, such as the Israel’s national flag and anthem, at tournaments after public outrage and after the International Judo Federation stripped the UAE and Tunisia of its right to host two international tournaments for not guaranteeing that Israeli athletes would be treated the same as their competitors.
“Hatikvah” was played publicly for the first time in a Gulf state last October when Israeli judoka Sagi Muki won gold in the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam.
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