Daily Israel Report

Prime Minister Netanyahu Meets Israel's Most 'Special' Athletes

Prime Minister Netanyahu met with developmentally disabled Israeli athletes, who took part in the “Special Olympics” in Athens, Greece.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 7/13/2011, 5:32 AM / Last Update: 7/13/2011, 9:00 AM

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met on Tuesday in Jerusalem with Israeli athletes who took part in the “Special Olympics” for developmentally disabled individuals, and who returned last week from the world championship in Athens, Greece. The event was also attended by Minister of Culture and Sport Limor Livnat and by Moshe Kahlon, Minister of Communications and Minister of Welfare and Social Services.

During the event, Tali Kornhauser, Deputy Chairman of Special Olympics Israel, told the Prime Minister and the ministers about the achievements of the Israeli athletes, who had won 25 gold medals, 25 silver medals and 16 bronze medals. Israel competed against 180 countries.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the athletes, telling them, “You’ve brought a lot of honor to the State of Israel. As far as I’m concerned, you’re in a daily competition. You need to find your strength, but you’ve discovered what kind of strength exists within you. We’re impressed by it.

“You’ve touched the hearts of all the citizens of the State, and I know that you deserve a prize every day of the year,” added the Prime Minister.

Culture and Sport Minister Limor Livnat said, “For us, every one of you is a champion and all of you are winners. You give us all strength. You are proof that anyone who believes can win.”

Minister Kahlon said: “It is heartwarming to see all the athletes with medals on their chests. You have brought a lot of honor to Israel’s citizens. We’ll help you maintain the momentum and achievements in the coming years.”

“Special Olympics” is an international organization established in 1968 in the United States, and which specializes in sports activities for members of the population with developmental disabilities. The organization today has over three million athletes from 180 countries. The Israeli delegation in the Athens World Championships numbered 84 athletes and 31 escorts.