Hamas praises 11-year-old girl as hero for snubbing Israeli athlete

11-year-old Lebanese girl who withdrew from competition rather than face Israeli athlete is praised as a hero by terror group.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

The Gaza-based Hamas terror group praised an 11-year-old girl for forfeiting a match at an international table tennis tournament, rather than face an Israeli opponent.

Lebanese national Bissan Chiri withdrew from the World Table Tennis (WTT) Youth Star Contender Vila Nova de Gaia 2022 in Portugal because she was slated to compete against an Israeli player. 15-year-old Eleanor Davidov.

On Saturday, Hamas spokesperson hailed Chiri’s move as an “honorable Arab position that reflects the Lebanese people’s genuine sense of belonging” to the Palestinian cause.

In the statement, Taha “emphasized that such a move confirms that Arab and Muslim generations refuse all forms of normalisation with the Israeli occupation.”

Notably, Lebanon has some of the strictest laws in the world against “normalization” with Israel which carries heavy penalties, though enforcement of the law is inconsistent..

Lebanese nationals who speak to Israelis while abroad could be prosecuted and charged with sedition or spying.

The consequences for such a conviction could include a lengthy prison term or even the death penalty, though capital punishment has not been carried out by the Lebanese government since 2004.

It’s unclear if 11-year-old Chiri’s decision was based on an opposition to the Jewish State or because of concern for her and her family’s safety in Lebanon.

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In 2018, a Lebanese beauty queen lost her crown and was forced into hiding due to death threats after posing for a photo with an Israeli beauty queen at an international competition, although the Israeli representative was of Arab descent herself.

While athletes refusing to compete against Israelis have often been praised by terror groups, there are typically serious consequences for these moves.

Algerian judoka Fethi Nourine and his coach were banned for 10 years from competing internationally due to his refusal to face an Israeli opponent at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

“It is evident that the two Algerian judoka, with malicious intent, have used the Olympic Games as a platform for protest and promotion of political and religious propaganda, which is a clear and serious breach of the IJF Statutes, the IJF Code of Ethics and the Olympic Charter,” the International Judo Federation said in a statement at the time.

“Therefore, no other penalty than a severe suspension can be imposed in this case.”