Congratulations to New Zealander, Artem Sitak, and Israeli, Jonathan Erlich, for winning the doubles competition at the Hall of Fame Championships in Newport.
It is great to see successful sporting partnerships between liberal democratic nations. Especially when Israel is all too often boycotted by the Arab and Islamic world and pressure is put on others to also shun Israelis.
Only last week, two Saudi badminton players forfeited a match at an international badminton tournament in Ukraine instead of playing against an Israeli opponent and who can forget the judoka from the United Arab Emirates who refused to shake the hand of his Israeli rival, a day after the UAE refused to play the Israeli national anthem or fly the Israeli flag for medal-winning Israeli athletes at the competition.
However, there are signs of some progress. Following pressure, the Tunisian Chess Federation agreed to allow a 7-year-old Israeli girl to participate in an international tournament.
New Zealand has not caved to pressure from the antisemitic or anti-Israel groups or nations. Yachting New Zealand showed great leadership in 2016 by allowing Israel to compete in the Youth Sailing World Championships, unlike Malaysia the year before.
I hope there are many more opportunities for competition between Israel and New Zealand and for there to be many more partnerships like Sitak-Erlich, for the benefit of both nations.