Raisman Israel visit likely in December

Jewish-American medalist Aly Raisman tells minister she and her family will make their first Israel visit.

Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman 390 (photo credit: Brian Snyder / Reuters)
Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman 390
(photo credit: Brian Snyder / Reuters)
Israel did not win anything at the Summer Olympics in London but gold medals are on the way after Jewish- American gymnast Aly Raisman accepted an official invitation from Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein Friday to come to Jerusalem with her family.
In a phone conversation facilitated by US Ambassador Dan Shapiro, Raisman, 18, told Edelstein that she was very happy to be invited and that she would decide with her family when would be the best time to come.
A source close to Edelstein said the end of December would be a likely choice because Raisman’s younger siblings Brett, Chloe and Madison would be on vacation from school. Raisman and her family have never been to Israel.
The gymnast won a gold medal for her floor routine, which she performed to the tune of “Hava Nagila.” She won another gold medal for the performance of the US women’s gymnastics team she captained and a bronze in the balance-beam competition.
MK Danny Danon, who chairs the Knesset’s Diaspora Affairs Committee, said he would invite Raisman to the legislature to address the committee.
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Raisman may not be the only medal winner to come to Israel.
Sailor Jo Aleh, 26, who has an Israeli father and a UK-born mother, and who won a gold medal for New Zealand in women’s 470 class sailing on Friday, is expected to come to Israel for the bat mitzva of her half-sister, who lives on a kibbutz with her father, Shuki.
There is also still a chance for one Israeli to win a medal: Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball coach David Blatt will be coaching the Russian team that will face off against Argentina for the bronze medal in men’s basketball on Sunday.