In honor of its renovation of a UNESCO hall, the United Arab Emirates gave gifts to every member country except Israel.
On Monday, at the opening of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) 39th General Conference in Paris, the delegation from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) put a silver medal on the desk of each foreign delegation to commemorate the UAE’s renovation of the conference hall – except Israel’s, reported the Times of Israel.
The move was reminiscent of conduct in the UAE last week, when Israeli judokas won five medals at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam tournament but had their national identities obscured as organizers refused to let the athletes display the Israeli flag on their uniforms. When Israeli Tal Flicker won gold in the under-66 kilogram event, UAE officials played the International Judo Federation anthem instead of the Israeli anthem “Hatikva.”
“The State of Israel has no need for gifts, but this ugly and uncivilized step, here in the world’s organization for culture and education, which follows the outrageous treatment of our judokas during the tournament in the UAE’s capital, shows how much hatred, incitement and dark mentality surround these people,” Israeli ambassador to UNESCO Carmel Shama-Hacohen told the Times.
On Saturday night, at a meeting held at the end of the tournament between the President of the World Judo Association, Marius Vizer, the Chairman of the Israeli Judo Association, Moshe Ponte, and the President of the United Arab Emirates Judo Association, it was agreed that next year, Israeli athletes would be permitted to compete with an Israeli flag and Israeli national symbols, reported Yediot Aharonot.
The host country’s judo association president also apparently apologized to Ponte for one of the Emirate’s competitors, Rashad Almashjari, refusing to shake hands after losing to Israeli Tohar Butbul in the first round of the men’s lightweight (66-73 kg) category.
By: Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News