Arab-Israeli high-jump champion attacked for representing Israel

“We condemn her representation of the Zionist entity that uprooted our people and is using her as a fig leaf to cover up the racism and crimes of Israel."

By SONIA EPSTEIN
July 10, 2019 15:05
2 minute read.
Arab-Israeli high-jump champion attacked for representing Israel

Arab youth express their support for Arab-Israeli high-jumper Hanin Nasser.. (photo credit: "TOGETHER — VOUCH FOR EACH OTHER")

 
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Hirak Haifa, an Israeli-Arab youth activism group in Haifa, targeted decorated high-jumper Hanin Nasser for betraying "the voice of her people and the voice of truth" in representing Israel in the upcoming 2019 European Athletics U23 Championships.


“We condemn her representation of the Zionist entity that uprooted our people and is using her as a fig leaf to cover up the racism and crimes of Israel,” Hirak Haifa wrote in a recent post on social media. The NGO also sent Nasser a personal letter, calling for her to withdraw from the competition that will take place in Sweden from July 11-14.
"While we are proud of you as a gymnast with a promising future in this sport, we are shocked that you would represent the Occupation," the letter said, according to The Jewish Press, adding that Nasser is "jumping on the wounds of our Palestinian nation” with her high-jump.


Nasser, 22, is a Muslim woman from Arrabe, an Israeli-Arab city in the Lower Galilee. She won the Maccabi championship a few weeks ago when she set a personal record jumping 1.79 m., the ninth highest score in Israel's history. 
 
The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel also called for her withdrawal from the upcoming international competition.


In response to these statements, the Israeli Athletics Association said that "there is no room for politics" in sports.


"Sports are a platform for unity and bringing people together," it said. "We are proud of Hanin and are pleased that she is representing us abroad and wish her the best of luck in the competition."


The group Together – Vouch for Each Other, comprised of Muslim, Christian and Druze youth, photographed themselves with signs of support and sent messages of encouragement to Nasser. 


"We are the sane majority behind you," the group wrote. "You fill us with pride, inspire us and serve as a role model for all of us as a young and groundbreaking woman representing the State of Israel and Arab society with great respect. Your success as Israel's champion in high-jump is the success of the entire Arab sector. Your personal achievements are causing the entire Arab sector to rise to the ideal of living together as an integral part of the country."


Nasser thanked the organization's director for the support and said she was very excited by it.


Im Tirtzu, the Zionist organization that discovered Hirak Haifa's post, added its own message of encouragement. 


"We wish Hanin the best of luck and hope that she continues to break records and fulfill her dream through athletics," said Tom Nisani, Im Tirtzu's national activist coordinator. "She is the hope to build a bridge of co-existence and true integration between all sectors of Israeli society."

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