Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat hosted a reception for Israel’s Paralympic athletes in Jerusalem on Tuesday. The athletes will take part in games held in London in September.
Israel will be represented in the games by 25 athletes, competing in cycling, sailing, tennis, shooting, equestrian events and athletics.
Addressing the athletes, the prime minister said, “What you do does not compare to the efforts of other athletes… What you are called upon to do is in a different sphere. What you demand of yourselves, nobody demands of you. You demand of yourselves and achieve things physically and, first and foremost, mentally. From my point of view, you are already champions and you have achieved major victories.”
Netanyahu announced that the country would honor a special request of the athletes, saying, “I also promise you that we will give you all possible support — you, your trainers and your accompanying staff. But you asked from something modest: you said that you want your families, neighbors and friends, and all of Israel, to be able to watch you on TV. This is my small contribution: there will be broadcasts. I want all Israelis to see our champions. I hope that you bring home medals, but from my point of view, you already have. Good luck to you!”
Livnat, who recently announced the establishment of a committee to investigate Israel’s failure to bring home a medal from the Summer Olympics, thanked Israel’s Olympians who recently returned from London by saying, “You have returned with very fine achievements… I would like to offer a large embrace to all of the athletes who were there and did their best in order to succeed.”
Livnat added that Israel provides equal medical and professional services to both Paralympic and Olympic athletes, and stated that Paralympians are an “inseparable” part of Israeli sports.
“In my view, you rise above all other athletes with your ability to overcome your handicaps. You do this so well. You do amazing things and are a model for the emulation and admiration of our youth and all those who encounter difficulties. I love you and wish you success,” she said.”