So, after my unexpected subject matter (to me at least) last week on my TOI debut, what will I be bending your ears , or actually eyes, about on a fairly regular basis? Well I’ll be writing about the chances for peace between us and our neighbours and describing the revival of the peace movement in Israel. I’ll also cover various inter-community/faith initiatives taking place around the country.
But above all I’ll be talking about sport. TOI readers need to know about the successes of our Israeli sportsmen and women, although you might notice the odd mention of (Tottenham supporters…look away now) the Arsenal Football Club.
But, first of all, Israel. Early this morning, our Israeli number one tennis player, Dudi Sela, won his third Challenger tournament of the year, with a crushing 6-1, 6-2 straight-sets victory over Teymuraz Gabashvili of Russia in the men’s singles final at the $125,000 Tashkent Open.
Having also reached the doubles semi- finals with Israeli number two, Amir Weintraub, Dudi will return home with nearly $20,000 and 125 ranking points, which will see him rise into the world’s top 70.
Weintraub also reached the singles semi-finals, narrowly losing to Dudi’s victim, but only after his Tunisian quarter final opponent, Malek Jaziri, was ordered to withdraw from the match by the Tunisian Tennis Federation.
Jaziri was said to be extremely upset at the decision as he and Amir are friends, both being members of the Sarcelles tennis club just north of Paris. His brother, who is also called Amir, has reported that the ATP is investigating the withdrawal and may impose sanctions on the Tunisian player.
In football news (soccer for our American friends), Adiv Sterman has already written about Israel’s highly creditable draw for the second time in this World Cup qualifying campaign against Cristiano Ronaldo’s high-flying Portugal in Lisbon. After going behind mid way through the first half, Israel had much the better of the second period and equalised in the 85th minute, striker Eden Ben Basat taking advantage of a poor clearance by Portuguese goalkeeper Rui Patricio to strike the equalizer with an excellent finish.
So a good week for Israeli sport, and for Arsenal supporters, the week’s internationals have so far brought two goals for France’s Olivier Giroud, two for Denmark’s Nicklas Bendtner, one for Germany’s Mesut Ozil and an assist and victory for the Wales captain Aaron Ramsey.