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Attorneys at Rapaport Law Firm Support the Israeli Olympic Athletes

Isreal Flag SunsetThe great nation of Israel was founded in 1948 when the Jewish people returned to their ancestral homeland after enduring centuries of oppression and adversity. In retribution, 850,000 Jews in Arab countries and Iran were subjected to mass expulsion. The history of persecution that Jews in the Middle East and North Africa were forced to endure at the hands of the Arab states is often conveniently disregarded by Israel’s enemies. Ironically, the Arab states’ hatefulness and intolerance had the effect of strengthening Israel because Jewish refugees from Yemen, Iraq, Morocco and elsewhere flocked to Israel and contributed to Israel’s rich, multi-cultural tapestry.

Since its founding, Israel has faced a constant struggle for survival. Mort Zuckerman famously wrote that “Israel is so small it has no margin for error” in its constant battle to survive. President John F. Kennedy—like countless others—admired the courage, idealism and sacrifice of Israel. In his speech on August 26, 1960, President Kennedy stated:

Israel was not created in order to disappear- Israel will endure and flourish. It is the child of hope and the home of the brave. It can neither be broken by adversity nor demoralized by success. It carries the shield of democracy and it honors the sword of freedom.

For decades, Israeli athletes who compete in international sporting events have been forced to endure acts of blatant discrimination, exclusion and violence far beyond anything faced by athletes from any other country. During the Olympics in Munich in September 1972, 11 Israeli athletes were murdered by Arab terrorists. Sadly but not surprisingly, at this month’s Olympic games in Rio, athletes in Israel’s 47-member delegation are once again facing shocking acts of hatred. In one incident, the head of the Lebanese Olympic delegation tried to physically block Israeli athletes from traveling to the Olympic ceremonies at Maracana Stadium. We are informed that as a result of the incident, efforts are being taken to ensure that Salim al-Haj Nicola, head of the Lebanese delegation, is placed on the No Fly List maintained by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Thus, although Salim Al-Haj Nicola may have succeeded in his petty and despicable attempt to prevent Israeli athletes from boarding a bus, he now faces the probability of being strip-searched at airports throughout the world. Good luck Salim!

Despite the hostility of Arab delegations, Israeli athletes have already achieved considerable success at Rio, with Yarden Gerbi having won a bronze medal in judo.

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