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Israeli Woman is European Champion in Taekwondo

Israeli citizen and Sabbath observor Bat-El Gatterer has won first place in her weight class in the European Taekwondo championships.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 5/13/2010, 9:19 PM / Last Update: 5/13/2010, 11:22 PM

Flash 90

Israeli citizen Bat-El Gatterer has won first place in her weight class in the European Taekwondo championships. Gatterer is from the Samaria town of Kochav Yaakov, north of Jerusalem.

She was Israel's only Olympic athlete in the field of Taekwondo in the 2008 Olympics, which she reached after taking a bronze at the European qualifying tournament in Istanbul, but was eliminated in her first match.

Bat-El differs from her fellow athletes not only due to her impressive speed but due also to her religious observance. She has occasionally found it necessary to walk to competition venues on the Sabbath (Shabbat) and to live off of kosher instant noodles while competing abroad.

Gatterer, 23, enrolled in her first fighting class at age nine. At age 12 she began Taekwondo. Her coaches were quickly impressed by her talent, and she soon began fighting with the national team.

Between the Olympics and the European championships, Gatterer found time to serve in the IDF.

The fact that Gatterer is from Kochav Yaakov, a town labeled an “Israeli settlement” by the world press, drew some attention during the Olympics. Gatterer described her hometown as “a great place,” but said she hopes to be seen as representing all Israelis, and not only those in Judea and Samaria.