Arab-Israeli high jumper pressured not to represent country in major competition

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Arab-Israeli high jumper pressured not to represent country in major competition

Hanin Nasser, 22, has been urged not to represent Israel at the 2019 European Athletics U23 Championships in Sweden

High jumper Yelena Slesarenko
(Wikipedia/Bjarte Hetland/I, Bjarteh)
High jumper Yelena Slesarenko (Wikipedia/Bjarte Hetland/I, Bjarteh)

An Arab-Israeli youth group has called on an Arab-Israeli high jumper not to represent Israel in a European competition this week.

Hanin Nasser, 22, will represent Israel at the 2019 European Athletics U23 Championships in Sweden that starts Thursday. She won the Maccabi championship last month with a personal record of 1.79 meters, about 5.87 feet, the ninth best jump in Israeli history, The Jerusalem Post reported.

“We condemn her representation of the Zionist entity that uprooted our people and is using her as a fig leaf to cover up the racism and crimes of Israel,” Hirak Haifa, or Children of Haifa, wrote in a post on social media, Haaretz reported.

Children of Haifa said it had offered Nasser, of the northern Galilee village of Arrabe, other options through which to pursue an athletic career “via international sports clubs and respected Olympic coaches and the readiness of various groups to support her financially and embrace her promising talent,” according to the Post.

The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel also called for her to withdraw from competing for Israel.

The Israeli Athletics Association said that politics do not belong in sports.

“Sports are a platform for unity and bringing people together,” its statement said. “We are proud of Hanin and are pleased that she is representing us abroad and wish her the best of luck in the competition.”

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