Israeli Olympic Team

The Olympics are off to a rough start for the Israeli national team, and in more than one way. The most notable conflict came in the women's judo competition, when Saudi Arabia's Joud Fahmy forfeited a first-round match against Mauritius' Christianne Legentil, in a move some media outlets have described as an attempt to avoid facing Israeli judoka Gili Cohen.

Saudi Arabia has long had strained relations with Israel. As the Times of Israel notes, Saudi Arabia does not officially recognize Israel as a country, although recent dialogues between the two nations have pointed toward a possible improved relationship in the near future.

Meanwhile, Cohen lost her second-round match. Another prominent Israeli judoka, Golan Pollack, also lost in the first round, making for a disappointing showing for the Israeli judo team.

That's not the end of Israel's Olympic woes, though. Problems began even before the opening ceremony, when the Lebanese national team refused to allow Israel's delegation onto a bus headed for the main Olympic Stadium. The Lebanese team allegedly refused to share a bus with the Israelis.

That gesture prompted a harsh response from the Olympic Games organizers, who cautioned Lebanon and other countries from making such displayed of poor sportsmanship toward the Israeli national team.

On Facebook, a member of Israel's sailing team, Udi Gal, addressed the conflict with Lebanon, saying Israel's national team ultimately took a different bus to avoid an "international and physical incident."

"How could they let this happen on the eve of the Olympic Games?" Gal added. "Isn't this the opposite of what the Olympics represents?"

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