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UAE allows Israeli Judo team to attend Abu Dhabi tournament

Israel has long been accused of discrimination against Palestinian athletes [Getty]

Date of publication: 25 October, 2017

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The United Arab Emirates has allowed an Israeli team to take part an international Judo tournament in Abu Dhabi, but ordered them not to display the flag on their kimonos.
The United Arab Emirates has allowed an Israeli team to take part an international Judo tournament in Abu Dhabi, after setting restrictions on the delegation.

The Israeli judokas arrived in the UAE on Tuesday for the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam, which is taking place later this week, Israeli media reported.

The UAE has let the 12 athletes compete but has ordered them not to display the Israeli flag on their kimonos and said they will be identified as representatives of the IJF [International Judo Federation].

The restrictions have prompted accusations of discrimination from the IJF.

"All delegations, including the Israeli delegation, shall be treated absolutely equally in all aspects, without any exception," IJF President Marius Vizer said in a letter to the UAE Judo Federation.

The move is likely a symbolic gesture from the UAE, which has long maintained secret links with Israel.

In June, leaked emails of the UAE's ambassador to the US revealed that Abu Dhabi had established clandestine relations with Israel.

The emails showed a "growing link" between the UAE and pro-Israel think-tank, Foundation for Defence of Democracies.

Israel has long been accused of discrimination against Palestinian athletes.

Human Rights Watch has slammed FIFA for allowing football matches to be played in illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

Last year, members of Palestine's national beach soccer team were barred from travelling to an international tournament.

During last year's Olympics, an Egyptian judo fighter was criticised for refusing to shake hands with an Israeli competitor.

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