Coach Smadja with Sassoon
Coach Smadja with SassoonJudo Association

Two weeks after Arab countries were banned from hosting Grand Slam tournaments due to their boycott of the Jewish state, the Arabs may be giving in.

In light of the many past incidents in which Israeli athletes were banned from competing under Israeli symbols in various tournaments hosted by United Arab Emirates, it appears that soon Israelis will be able to appear for the first time in history under the Israeli flag and, in the event of winning a gold medal, to have Israel’s national anthem, Hatikvah, played.

The historic decision comes after a great deal of Israeli and international pressure on the heads of the Arab state. According to Adi Rubinstein's article in Israel Hayom, it appears that a compromise is underway and the Emirates will be able to host large tournaments again, subject to the appearance of the Israeli flag and anthem.

This means that the Israeli flag will be present in every official place: on the competition website, on the scoreboard and of course on the robes of the fighters. Such a development will be a breakthrough in the relations between the countries and for Israeli sports in general. While Israelis had been allowed to participate in competitions in the country, their Israeli identity had been completely erased, whether in judo, sailing, or tennis.

The efforts are led by Hungarian Maurice Vizer, the chairman of the International Judo Association and one who holds Israeli Judo in high regard.

The Israeli judo association has not received an official announcement on the matter, and until that happens, they refrain from commenting on it.