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UAE refuses to play Israel national anthem for judo gold medal winner at Abu Dhabi competition

- tal flicker judo uae - UAE refuses to play Israel national anthem for judo gold medal winner at Abu Dhabi competition


​An Israeli judoka champion who won a gold medal at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam judo tournament was forced to quietly sing his national anthem to himself during the medal ceremony after organisers refused to play the ‘Hatikvah’ or raise the Israeli flag.

Tal Flicker, who is currently ranked world number one in the under 66kg division, took home a gold in the same category on Thursday. 

But his achievement was marred when he had to look at the International Judo Federation’s (IJF) flag and listen to its anthem rather than his own because of a ban in the Gulf state on the display of Israeli symbols.

 

Mr Flicker, visibly upset, shifts from foot to foot as he holds a bunch of flowers on the podium. He then sings the ‘Hatikvah’ to himself, although his voice is drowned out by the IJF music.  

In one widely shared clip, a clearly caught off-guard television commentator pauses before announcing that it is the IJF’s anthem which is about to be played, rather than Israel’s.

The 25-year-old judoka’s stoicism was widely praised both at home and internationally on social media.

“His victory has been amplified by his dignified response of class, respect, and sportsmanship,” one Twitter user wrote. 

Fellow team member Gili Coren, who won bronze in the under 52g women’s category, also did not get to sing her own anthem.

Throughout the tournament the Israeli competitors were not allowed to wear Israeli symbols and the programme listed them as taking part on behalf of the IJF.

When asked by Israel’s Channel 2 news about the incident later, Mr Flicker said that “the anthem that they played of the world federation was just background noise. I was singing ‘Hatikvah’ from my heart.”

The athelete added he hadn’t had doubts about taking part in the UAE competition, and that winning medals was “the most important thing”. 

Independent

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Middle East

15 Civilians Killed, Injured in Turkish Strikes on Afrin: Official

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ERBIL — At least two civilians were killed and 13 others were wounded on Sunday as a result of the Turkish military assault on Afrin, northwest of Syria, a local official said.

Osama Sheikh Issa, co-chair of Afrin local administration told Kurdistan24 that what Turkey is trying to achieve is having revenge on the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection (YPG) and Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) fighter’s victory against the Islamic State (IS) in Syria.

“All of the casualties of the Turkish attacks were civil people who had nothing to do with the war” he pointed out.

Issa also asserted that the residents of Afrin are confidently staying in their city, but the displaced Syrian people who had found refuge in Afrin are in danger because of the Turkish assault on the city.

He further ensured that “none of the YPG and YPJ units have been targeted by the Turkish strikes, in deed all the attacks have been aimed at the homes of civilians in Afrin”.

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Middle East

Iran Calls on Turkey to Halt Afrin Operation

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ERBIL — The Islamic Republic of Iran has called on Turkey to halt the Afrin operation and respect Syria’s territorial integrity, said a spokesperson for Iranian Foreign Ministry.

According to Mehr News Agency, Bahram Ghasemi said that Iran is closely and concernedly following the current developments in the city of Afrin.

“Iran hopes that the operation will immediately come to an end to stop the deepening of the crisis in the border areas of Turkey and Syria” he added. 

“The continuation of the crisis in Afrin may further strengthen the takfirist-terrorist groups in the northern Syrian regions, and flare up the fires of war ” warned the Iranian foreign ministry.

Qasemi also drew attention to the Astana peace talks and stated that all countries, especially Turkey, are expected to remain committed to the political solution, especially Astana peace process, for the Syrian crisis and continue observing their commitments and playing their constructive role in the resolution of the crisis.

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Middle East

[Watch]: YPG Destroys Turkish Tank near Afrin

- a515aef23f394e0974fa089da5993b99 L - [Watch]: YPG Destroys Turkish Tank near Afrin


ERBIL — The US-backed Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) released a footage on Sunday which shows them destroying a Turkish tank near the border city of Afrin.

The YPG fighters appear in the video destroying a Turkish tank with an anti-tank missile.

Turkey on Saturday launched a new air and ground operation on Afrin, a Kurdish city in the northwest of Syria, dubbed as the “Olive Branch Operation”.

The assault has so far left dozens killed and injured, including civilians and fighters from the both sides.

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