Lebanon-Israel Controversy before Olympics Opening Ceremony

Israeli Olympic delegation member sailor Udi Gal claimed via a post on social media that members of the Lebanese delegation refused to let the Israelis ride the bus with them to the Maracana stadium, where the opening ceremony was to take place, according to Israeli newspapers.

When the delegation was ready to board the bus to the Maracana stadium in the Brazilian city, they were physically prevented from doing so by the Lebanese delegation, already aboard, claimed Israeli sailor and delegation member Udi Gal, Ynetnews reported.

“The 2016 Olympics – a shame!!” wrote Gal in a Facebook post. “Israel’s Olympic team gets ready to board the bus for the opening ceremony. It turned out the bus was shared with the Lebanese team. Once the members of the Lebanese team understood the were (set to take the bus) alongside the Israeli team, they asked the driver to close the door – their delegation leader heading (the effort).”

Gal claimed that the organizers tried to calm things down. “The organizers tried to spread us to different buses, something which was not possible security and representation-wise,” he wrote, “I insisted and we insisted that we get on the intended bus, and if the Lebanese don’t want (to ride with us), they are welcome to get off (of it). The bus driver opened the door, but this time the head of the Lebanese delegation blocked the entrance with his body. The organizers tried to prevent an international incident and physically sent us aside to a special (vehicle).”

Gal was surprised the organizers gave in to the pressure, writing, “How is it that they let something like this happen, and on the opening night of the Olympic Games? Isn’t this the opposite of what the Olympics represent and (don’t the actions by the Lebanese delegation) work against it? I cannot describe the way I feel. I’m enraged and shocked by this event.”