UAE apologises for athlete who rebuffed Israeli competitor's handshake

UAE apologises for athlete who refused to shake hands with Israeli competitor
2 min read
29 October, 2017
UAE judo officials have 'apologised' on behalf of Emirati athletes who refused to shake hands with their Israeli competitors.
An Emirati judo competitor had refused to shake hands with his Israeli counterpart [AFP]
Top UAE judo officials issued an apology to Israeli on Sunday after a competitor refused to shake hands with his Israeli counterpart earlier this week.

UAE's Judo Federation President Mohammad Bin Thaloub al-Dare and other senior officials apologised to Israeli Judo Association head Moshe Ponte for Rashad al-Mashjari refusal to shake hands with his competitor.

Al-Darei and others "apologised on the behalf of Emirati athletes not shaking hands with the Israel athletes". They  also "congratulated the Israel team for their success here [in the UAE]" according to Times of Israel.

The Israeli judoka won a gold medal at a competition in Abu Dhabi on Thursday but did not compete under his country's flag nor was the national anthem played during the awards ceremony.

Tal Flicker won gold in the men's under-66 kilogram competition at the Judo Grand-Slam Abu Dhabi 2017.

As with every year, the UAE banned Israeli athletes from wearing the country's symbols on their uniforms and Flicker received his medal under the International Judo Federation (IJF) banner instead of the Israeli flag.

Despite the symbolic move of the Emirati athlete, the UAE and Israel still enjoy secret relations.

In June, leaked emails of the UAE's ambassador to the US revealed that Abu Dhabi had established clandestine relations with Israel.

The emails showed a "growing link" between the UAE and pro-Israel think-tank, Foundation for Defence of Democracies.

Israeli officials have been repeatedly suggesting there is a profound cooperation with UAE and Saudi Arabia.

They say they have been working together against common foe Iran and against groups such as Hamas.