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      Netanyahu Hosts Israel’s Paralympic Hopefuls

      As Olympic team returns, Paralympic athletes prepare for their events. Netanyahu, ‘You are already champions.’
      First Publish: 8/15/2012, 12:08 AM

      Netanyahu
      Netanyahu
      Israel news photo: Flash 90

      Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Minister of Sport Limor Livnat held a reception Tuesday for Israel’s delegates to the Paralympics, which will open next month in London.

      Israeli athletes will compete in nine events: road cycling, rowing, sailing, wheelchair tennis, table tennis, shooting, swimming, equestrian, and athletics.

      Netanyahu told the athletes he admires them, particularly after experiencing a brush with disability recently when he suffered a leg injury. “I have had this experience, when you cannot reach the steps and you run into a wall and when you need to get into and out of the shower and you run into difficulties with simple, daily actions. This is on a small scale, it is so small but it is so large, and it has given me at least a reminder of the incredible thing that you are doing,” he said.

      “What you demand of yourselves, nobody demands of you,” he said. “You demand of yourselves and achieve things physically and, first and foremost, mentally. From my point-of-view, you are already champions.”

      Netanyahu told the athletes that Israeli television stations will broadcast footage of the Paralympic Games. “I want all Israelis to see our champions,” he declared.

      Livnat told the athletes, “I see you as an inseparable part of Israeli and Olympic sports. In my view, you rise above all other athletes with your ability to overcome your handicaps… You do amazing things and are a model for the emulation and admiration of our youth and all those who encounter difficulties.”

      Israel Paralympic Committee Chairman Danny Ben-Abu praised Netanyahu and Livnat for providing the Paralympic athletes with medical and professional assistance equal to that provided to the returning Olympic athletes. “You deserve great thanks for this,” he said.