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Israeli celebration of ties with Gulf states premature

The visit of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Oman is Sultan Qaboos’ way of signaling to Israelis what peace could look like, should they end the occupation of the Palestinians.

Abu Dhabi authorized last month the participation of the Israeli Judoka team at the Grand Slam competition there. When Israeli Judoka Sagi Muki won a gold medal Oct. 28, the Israeli national anthem, "Hatikva," was played — for the first time in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Culture Minister Miri Regev, who accompanied the Israeli Judo team, was photographed fighting back tears of joy on the occasion.

Regev is known for her controversial, nationalist positions, drawing fire from the press. Rarely, if ever, has Regev enjoyed such expansive positive coverage as she did in Abu Dhabi. Sports commentator Itamar Katzir, writing in Haaretz, was effusive in his praise. Katzir noted that Regev had insisted in the past that Israelis would not compete in Tunisia or Abu Dhabi or any Arab state unless the Israeli anthem could be played there. Promoting her to the rank of “a diplomatic personality of the first order,” Katzir continued, “(Judoka Sagi) Muki came away with a gold medal, but Regev came away with the crown of an ambassador, of a foreign minister, and perhaps, most importantly, she became the talk of the day — this time in a favorable context.” 

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