U.A.E. to Let Israelis Play Under National Flag at Judo Competition

(Bloomberg) -- The United Arab Emirates will let Israelis participate in the Abu Dhabi Judo Grand Slam under their national flag, after the International Judo Federation threatened to cancel the event.

“The historic decision will thus allow all nations to display their national insignia and national anthem, including Israel,” the IJF said in a statement posted on its website Monday. It cited a letter it received from the U.A.E. Judo Federation promising the Israeli athletes the same rights as their peers.

The IJF had announced in July that it will suspend two of its events, the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam and the Tunis Grand Prix, after it failed to receive guarantees from those countries ensuring “free and equal participation of all nations at the said events.” The Abu Dhabi event is to take place Oct. 27-29.

Last year, Israeli symbols were banned during the Abu Dhabi competition, the flag didn’t appear during medal ceremonies, and the national anthem wasn’t played for Israel’s gold medalist, the Times of Israel reported. While Israel and the Gulf states don’t have official relations, they are said to have developed covert ties.

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