Mideast Israel U21 Europeans Soccer

Spain won UEFA’s U21 Eurpopean Championships in Israel this week

In a fortnight which has seen Israel stage the U21 European Championships and Jerusalem a Formula One road show to show how sport can act as a platform for peace, the sporting world continues to be littered by jaw-dropping acts of anti-Israel – and anti-Semitic – acts.

From the world of wrestling, it’s emerged that Ilana Kartysh was attacked by her Egyptian rival during her semi-final contest at the Golden Grand Prix tournament in Italy a couple of weeks ago. Suffering two broken fingers and being bitten on the back by African champion Enas Mostafa, these injuries weren’t picked up as an occupational hazard. Mostafa refused to shake hands at the beginning of the fight should have served her as a warning of things to come. Kartysh said: “I can’t remember such dirty behaviour in sports. In wrestling you must shake hands at the beginning and end of a match. But not only did she refuse to shake my hand, she even broke my fingers and bit me until I began bleeding. I have her teeth marks on my back.” If there was though something positive to take from an incident which made Luis Suarez’s attack on Branislav Ivanovic seem playful, it’s how the fight ended. As Kartysh’s explained: “Because of her dirty behaviour my desire to beat her grew stronger, I can’t even describe how proud I felt hearing ‘Hatikva’ playing at the end.”

Elsewhere, Israel took on Turkey in a Beach Soccer match. Prior to the match the two teams exchanged each other’s pennants, but coach Benny Lam noticed the Turks throwing away the Israeli flags. He said: “I saw them throw away the flags. At that moment I said we should have given them a beating for that. It was a crucial game for both teams. I got my players together and told them: ‘The Turks hate us, we’re going to take them apart, you’ll eat them up, we’ll teach them how to behave.’” Fortunately, this was another story which had a happy ending as Israel won the game 9-6, a victory which saw them secure their place in August’s European Championships in Barcelona.