Israel national anthem played in the United Arab Emirates for the first time ever, after Israel’s Sagi Muki won the Gold medal at the 2018 Abu Dhabi Grand Slam tournament. Sports and Culture Minister Miri Regev was moved to tears as she presented Muki with his medal.
The tournament is allowing Israeli athletes to compete under their national symbols for first time. Regev attended the competition despite the fact that Israel has no diplomatic relations with the UAE.
Last year, UAE organizers allowed Israeli competitors to take part in the international competition hosted in their country on the condition that they did not display their flag or play their anthem, even if they won a gold medal.
Israel filed a complaint with the International Judo Federation, which temporarily suspended the UAE from hosting the competition, saying that it was not eligible to host international events if it discriminated against athletes based on the countries they represented. The UAE subsequently relented, allowing Israel to compete on the same basis as all other countries.