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Photo: Ronen Bash
Raanan Shaked
Photo: Ronen Bash

Israel obsessed with Olympic medals

Op-ed: State has far more urgent issues to address before it invests more money in sports

Medic, I've been hit! Look, my national pride has been severely injured. It's bleeding, and I'm growing weaker and weaker. I don't know how much longer I can last. These Olympics must end!

 

I know. We are all having a hard time. The fact that our athletes will apparently return from London with a single medal won in the "I don't know what happened to me" event substantiates the need to make making excuses an Olympic sport in Rio 2016.

 

The heated public debate over why we didn't win any medals in London and how humiliating it is may prove to be crucial in convincing the Israeli government to finally increase the budget for sports.

 

I apologize in advance for my next comment, but it needs to be said: Do we really need a medal? I mean, my heart, like any other warm Zionist heart, overflows with joy upon hearing our national anthem being played as Sports Minister Limor Livnat races to the podium so as not to miss such a great opportunity to be photographed with an Israeli medalist.

 

And yet, I can certainly live without it. I would rather focus an a number of much more urgent humanitarian issues the State of Israel can and must find an economic solution for, such as the ailing health and welfare systems; the education system, which at this point is nothing more than the sum of Minister Gideon Sa'ar's promises to members of Likud's Central Committee; our culture, which is going bankrupt – the list goes on and on, but the principle is clear: We can choose not to invest more in Olympic sports, and that would be perfectly fine.

 

Professional sports may contribute to our national pride, but the country should focus on respecting its citizens, the taxpayers.

 

I must say that any future Israeli victory in the Olympics, Eurovision Song Contest or even at the Oscars would not be that important to me. National pride is one of those feelings that don't really contribute anything to my real, everyday life, and if its price begins to skyrocket to tens of millions dollars, then as far as I'm concerned, we can and should pass.

 

Watching American swimming champs and record-breaking Jamaican sprinters isn't bad for my health, but living without a health safety net is.

 

In short, as Dafna Dekel once sang – it's just sports. And to the Israeli athletes I say, try harder next time.

 

 

 


פרסום ראשון: 08.10.12, 14:09
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