While disrespect and violence toward Israeli athletes is hardly a new issue affecting the Olympic games, the ongoing competitions in Rio de Janeiro continue to provide disturbing examples.
Anecdotal evidence of bad sportsmanship and other slights aimed at athletes from Israel have surfaced over the past two weeks, with one Egyptian’s refusal to shake his rival’s hand earning some of the harshest rebukes by critics online.
Egypt showing particularly poor sportsmanship in Judo pic.twitter.com/5m6cWeU4rt
— Ari Krauss (@AriKrauss) August 12, 2016
A lot of drama at judo as Israel’s Sasson beats El Shahaby of Egypt and El Shehaby refuses to shake his hand. Loud boos as he exits.
— Eric Adelson (@eric_adelson) August 12, 2016
— Erroll Southers (@esouthersHVE) August 13, 2016
Numerous commentators urged the International Olympic Committee to impose harsh penalties on Islam El Shehaby, the judo athlete who snubbed Israel’s Or Sasson after losing a heavyweight bout last week.
The IOC this week responded, confirming El Shehaby received a “severe reprimand” for his behavior. The governing body added that it “strongly condemned” the fighter’s disrespectful gesture and “has sent him home” for it.
According to the committee’s statement, El Shehaby’s behavior ran “contrary to the rules of fair play and against the spirit of friendship embodied in the Olympic values.”