UAE refuses to play Israel national anthem for judo gold medal victor

Tal Flicker

Israeli judo champion sings Israeli anthem to himself since Abu Dhabi wouldn't play it

But the hosts, it seemed, were not too happy with the development, refusing to play his national anthem or display his flag when he took the podium to accept the medal. Flicker received the award on stage without his country's flag being unfurled. Hence, Flicker quietly sang the Israeli anthem without calling for attention.

This week's incident came after the IJF demanded that the UAE treat Israeli athletes equally.

However's the 25-year-old's act was quick to go viral on social media with internet users praising him. "The anthem that they played of the world federation was just background noise". "I was singing 'Hatikvah' from my heart", the athlete told Israel's Channel 2 news from his hotel room."Israel is my country, and I'm proud to be Israeli", he added, according to the Times of Israel.

"The whole world knows that we're from Israel, knows who we represent", Flicker said. "The fact that they hid our flag, it's just a patch on our flag". Many other Israeli athletes have been boycotted by Muslim and Arab states that do not acknowledge the country.

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A letter from the IJF to the president of the UAE Judo Federation obtained by The Associated Press said that "all delegations, including the Israeli delegation, shall be treated absolutely equally in all aspects, without any exception".

Gili Cohen also won bronze in the under-114lbs class on Thursday and the Israeli flag again was not raised.

Israel competed under similar constraints in Abu Dhabi in 2015 and has already done better this than it did two years ago. In 2016, an Israeli Judoka defeated an Egyptian Judoka in the Rio Olympics, but the Egyptian refused to shake the Israeli's hand.

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