Israeli security bars wrestling team from competing in Turkey for Olympic qualifier

On Thursday, Turkey announced that it was halting all trade with Israel.

By Pesach Benson, TPS

The Israeli Security Agency (Shin Bet) barred a delegation of five wrestlers from flying to Istanbul for an Olympic qualifying event on May 9-13.

The ban effectively ends the team’s hopes of competing in the Paris Olympics in August.

“I’m disappointed, but I knew that this was going to be the decision,” said freestyle wrestler Ilana Kratysh, who in 2016 was the first Israeli woman to wrestle in the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

“I hope that the Israeli association and the Olympic committee will demand from the world association to consider us and give us a free ticket to the games; the athletes should not be harmed by the situation,” Kratysh said.

Israel’s National Security Council issued a warning against traveling to Turkey at the end of March, saying, “The potential for terrorist threats against Israelis and Jews more than five months after the start of the war is very high.”

On Thursday, Turkey announced that it was halting all trade with Israel.

Meanwhile, the NSC on Thursday also raised its threat level for the Swedish city of Malmo — which is hosting this year’s annual Eurovision song competition — from level two to level three and called on Israelis planning to attend to reconsider.

Malmo, which has a high concentration of Syrian, Lebanese, Iraqi and Iranian migrants, is known for weekly anti-Israel protests where speakers call to attack Jews and demonstrators burn Israeli flags.

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In an unusual move, the Israeli army’s Homefront Command will give Israeli nationals in Malmo real-time safety guidance over its app, normally used for rocket attacks and natural disasters.

Israel is being represented by Eden Golan, who has already arrived in Malmo. Golan and her entourage have been advised not to leave their hotel rooms except when absolutely necessary.

The competition takes place May 7-11.