Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Fast Forward

Israeli Athletes Barred From Taekwondo World Championship In Tunisia

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Four young Israeli athletes have been banned from competing in the taekwondo world junior championship event in Tunisia.

The competitors were banned by order of a court in the capital Tunis, which was responding to a lawsuit filed by the National Commission for Supporting Arab Resistance and Opposing Normalization and Zionism against the president of the Tunisian taekwondo federation, the Associated Press reported.

The court decision says that the four athletes cannot be invited or hosted at the competition.

The president of the Tunisian taekwondo federation told the Associated Press that the four Israelis did not properly fill out their registration papers. The delegation, which requested visas to travel to Tunisia well in advance, had already agreed to compete without being acknowledged as Israeli, according to Ynet.

Success in the competition is necessary to participate in the Youth Olympic Games to be held in Argentina in October, Ynet reported.

One of the athletes denied a spot in the tournament, Avishag Samberg, won a bronze medal in the previous Junior World Championships in November, 2016, and in the European championships held in November.

The chairman of the Israeli Taekwondo Federation, Michel Madar, who also serves on the board of World Taekwondo, entered Tunisia on his French passport to attend the world federation’s general assembly and lobby for the Israelis’ participation. However he was turned away at the airport after a Tunisian airport official noticed that his passport had been issued in Jerusalem, according to Ynet.

The Israeli delegation to the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam judo tournament in October competed without being identified as Israeli. Two Israelis won medals but the country’s national anthem was not played and the flag was not displayed.

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.