Israel is set to send its first delegation to Prince Harry’s biennial Invictus Games for injured military veterans.
An Israeli team comprising injured IDF veterans could take part in Germany in 2022, according to reports in the Mail on Sunday that the prince faced “a backlash” over the decision, made on 10 March, to admit the Israelis.
The Mail reports that the decision to allow former IDF soldiers to take part was made on 10 March, five days after Israeli Ambassador to the UK Mark Regev reportedly met Richard Smith, chief executive of the Invictus Games Foundation. It said a “high-ranking US politician” had also been pushing for Israel’s inclusion.
Last year injured British and Israeli service personnel took part in the inaugural Veterans’ Games in Israel, conceived and developed by Beit Halochem UK chairman Andrew Wolfson together with the Israeli Embassy and funded by British Jewish philanthropists. It is due to run again this year.
Harry, a former soldier himself, launched the Games in 2014, and although he has now stepped down from Royal duties and divides his time between the UK and the US, the Games is still one of his most treasured projects.
Israel was invited to send observers to this year’s ten-sport competition, due to be held in The Hague in May, but cancelled owing to the coronavirus pandemic.
Funding for an Israeli team has been sought from the Genesis Philanthropy Group (GPG), which supports several British Jewish charities, including JLGB.
It remains to be seen whether there will be a backlash from other teams or whether the boycott movement will target the event if injured Israeli soldiers compete at the Invictus Games.