Inside Israel

Arab-Israeli Kickboxer Draping Himself in Israeli Flag Isn’t Even Half of It

Imagine being a hater and having to encounter this story and image today:

Israel Kickboxing Association

Israeli kickboxer Loai Sakas won a gold medal on Thursday at the world championships in Turkey.

Sakas, a Christian Arab from the northern town of Kafr Yasif, draped himself with the Israeli flag as he stood in the ring after he defeated his Slovakian opponent in the under-75 kilogram (165.3 pound) weight class of K-1 style kickboxing.

Speaking with Channel 12, Sakas said that his goal in representing Israel in international competitions is to promote coexistence.

“I’m first and foremost an Israeli citizen,” he said. “I do not care about Judaism, Islam, Christianity, or Druze — I represent the country and want everyone here to live in peace with each other.”

“I expect every Israeli citizen to wave the Israeli flag. I do not try to rile up people or anything like that, I wave the flag because I am an Israeli citizen,” he said.

While he noted that he had received some backlash from people in his town for representing Israel, he stressed that they or their remarks did not matter to him.

“I also get a lot of support from a lot of people for what I do and I concentrate on that. People can think what they want — I am Israeli. If I walk down the street and I see someone attacking a Jew, I will protect him,” he added.

Because I don’t like to just parrot what most other advocates are posting and prefer to post stories with more “punch”, I thought I would add to this story something that will make the haters’ heads hit the canvas even harder.

You see, the CEO of the Kickboxing Association in Israel is also an Arab.

Not just that, but a Muslim.

Not just that, but a woman.

Naama Ali (27), a Muslim Arab from Araba, has been appointed CEO of the Kickboxing Association in Israel, a branch operating under the “Eilat” association. “In sports in general and in sports management in the community in particular, and when I was elected CEO of the Kickboxing Association in Israel, it was beyond imagination and I am very excited,” says Ali excitedly, “they say the sky is the limit and I touched it.”

Ali adds: “I am excited to be a young Arab woman in a role usually staffed by a man. I am proud to represent the Arab society in the country and promote the kickboxing industry and especially to be an inspiration to women and girls in sports.”

Bonus: Her first name is a Hebrew name, and her last is the very-appropriate-for-boxing Ali.

Tags: Israel kickboxing Loai Sakas

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media

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