Lebanese delegation stops Israeli athletes from entering bus at Rio Olympics
According to multiple reports, the Lebanese delegation to the Olympics in Rio De Janeiro refused to let Israeli athletes share a bus with them on their way to the opening ceremony last Friday.
In a post on his Facebook account Israeli sailing coach Udi Gal said that the Lebanese delegation realized they were meant to share a bus with Israelis and promptly asked the bus driver to close the door and keep them out. When the driver refused, the Lebanese athletes physically blocked the door and prevented them from entering.
Gal then suggested that if the Lebanese team did not wish to ride with Israeli athletes they were free to take another shuttle rather than prevent others from riding with them. The suggestion was flatly refused by the head of the Lebanese team, Saleem al-Hajj Nicholas
In the end, officials organized separate transportation to the opening ceremony for the Israeli delegation, but this did not satisfy the Israeli athletes who felt personally insulted by the actions of the Lebanese delegation according to the Israeli coach’s Facebook post.
Though the Israeli delegation asserts that the Lebanese were the ones who began the debacle, al-Hajj Nicholas told reporters that the Israelis “wanted to mix politics with sport” when they tried to get on the bus that was specified for usage by his team. He asserted that Lebanon respects the Olympic charter, and would never have done anything that counters its message.
Some took to social media in praise of the Lebanese delegation, who saw their country's athletes as taking a stand against the recent pushes to normalize relations between Israel and its Arab neighbors.
"To the "Lebanese" who don't like what happened with the Israeli delegation: You aren't people... You're filth."