Egyptian Judo Fighter Refuses to Shake Hand of Winning Israeli Opponent by the Forward

Egyptian Judo Fighter Refuses to Shake Hand of Winning Israeli Opponent

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Egyptian judo fighter Islam El Shehaby was met with loud boos and jeers after refusing to bow or shake the hand of the Israeli fighter who bested him at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

Or Sasson, Israel’s fifth-ranked fighter, beat El Shehaby with two throws in the first-round for an automatic victory, with a minute and a half remaining in the bout.

El Shehaby lay on his back for a moment before standing up and facing Sasson in front of the referee. As per custom, Sasson can be seen bowing to the Egyptian judoka but El Shehaby did not return that honor.

CBS News reports that in an email to the publication, International Judo Federation spokesman, Nicolas Messner, said the fight between the two countries was a major sign of progress. “This is already a big improvement that Arabic countries accept to (fight) Israel” and that though there is no duty to shake hands, a bow is customary.

Commenting further, Messner told CBS News that though El Shehaby ultimately bowed, “his attitude will be reviewed after the games to see if any further action should be taken.”

Sasson, who shares photos of his training and his time in Rio, made the semifinals after beating a Dutch rival Roy Meyer in the men’s 100 kilogram plus weight class.

With the rings. The olympic village. Rio, Brazil.

A photo posted by Sasson Ori (@ori_sasson) on

All the way

A photo posted by Sasson Ori (@ori_sasson) on


Maia Efrem

Maia Efrem

Maia Efrem is the former research editor and assistant to the editor and was also responsible for the Forward’s annual Salary Survey. Previously she served as the editor of Blognik Beat, a blog written by students who emigrated from or have ties to the Former Soviet Union. Maia is a graduate of Hunter College and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.

Egyptian Judo Fighter Refuses to Shake Hand of Winning Israeli Opponent

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