Sports is supposed to be free from politics and international conflict. It should be about skill, talent and hard work. But that does not mean that politics and international conflict cannot get in the way.
Israeli athlete Sagi Muki met Egyptian athlete Mohamed Abdelaal met on the mat during the World Judo Championship semifinals in Tokyo. Mr. Muki was named the winner of the match. Instead of being a good sportsman and shaking Mr. Muki’s hand, Mr. Abedelaal just walked off the mat.
Mr. Abdelaal’s actions, in my mind, represents what I think is a sad mentality when it comes to Israel and Jews. Regardless of ethnicity or national origin, Mr. Muki won fair and square. But to Mr. Abdelaal and millions who think like him, he was beaten by an Israeli Jew. In their mind, it is an unthinkable act.
I wish that we lived in a world in which we respected one another as individuals. I also wish we lived in a world in which when one entered any sports arena, one only saw their fellow athlete and not their ethnicity. But wishing sometimes goes nowhere.