Monday, August 22, 2016

Israeli Arabs in Abu Ghosh celebrate relative's gold medal - Yori Yalon

by Yori Yalon

Villagers proud of native son Ahmad Abughaush's achievement, which also brought Jordan its first Olympic medal • Restaurateur Jawdat Ibrahim: I felt like Israel had won. We plan to invite Ahmad to meet Israeli athletes, all in the name of coexistence.

Ahmad Abughaush flies the Jordanian flag after winning the gold
Photo credit: GettyImages

The Israeli Arab village of Abu Ghosh, outside Jerusalem, raised the roof with its celebrations when a relative of one of the village's major clans, Ahmad Abughaush -- who was competing for Jordan in taekwondo -- won a gold medal. 
Young people from the village gathered in the community center to watch Abughaush's match, and when he won the gold, the Abu Ghosh restaurant handed out baklava to passersby.

Credit: Reuters"It's a huge honor for the village," said restaurant owner Jawdat Ibrahim. 

"Ahmad's family moved to Jordan and did well there. After [his] win, we decided to celebrate. I felt like Israel had won. Jews came on Saturday and congratulated us, and that warmed our hearts. I plan to invite Ahmad to Abu Ghosh so he can meet Israeli athletes who were at the Olympics, along with the sports minister [Miri Regev] and the Jordanian sports minister. All for the sake of coexistence," Ibrahim said. 

Head of the Abu Ghosh Regional Council Issa Jaber, a relative of the taekwondo champion, added excitedly that "it's a great source of pride for the family, the village and of course the family in Jordan. We believe that sports can bring people closer. Ahmad has been known as an outstanding athlete since he was a child, and two years ago, when he won the Asian Taekwondo Championships, I had the honor of placing the medal around his neck. He will be an example for our young people in Abu Ghosh." 

King Abdullah II of Jordan called Abughaush to congratulate him on winning the kingdom's first-ever Olympic medal, saying, "The champion has filled me, like all of Jordan, with happiness." 

However, Ahmad Abughaush himself cut an interview with Israel's sports channel short after someone whispered that he was talking to an Israeli TV channel. Abughaush claimed his English was not fluent. Later, he completed the interview with the aid of an interpreter.

Yori Yalon  


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