As the Olympic opening ceremonies were about to begin in Rio - a time for the international community to celebrate togetherness and peace - the Lebanese team allowed regional hatred to flare. Yediot Achronot reports that the delegation from Lebanon refused to let the Israeli team ride to the ceremony on a shared bus:
The Rio 2016 Olympic Games began on a sour note for the Israeli delegation, but not one relating to the actual competition. When the delegation was ready to board the bus to the Maracana stadium in the Brazilian city, they were physically prevented from doing so by the Lebanese delegation, already aboard, according Israeli sailor Udi Gal.
“The 2016 Olympics – a disgrace!!” wrote Gal in a Facebook post. “(When) Israel’s Olympic delegation got ready to board the bus for the opening ceremony, it turned out the bus was shared with the Lebanese delegation. Once the members of the Lebanese delegation realized they were (sharing the bus) with the Israeli delegation, they asked the driver to close the door, with their delegation leader heading (the effort).”
Gal claimed that the organizers tried to calm things down. “The organizers tried to split us up to different buses, something which was not possible security and representation-wise,” he wrote, “I insisted and we insisted that we get on the intended bus, and if the Lebanese don’t want (to ride with us), they are welcome to get off (of it). The bus driver opened the door, but this time the head of the Lebanese delegation blocked the entrance with his body. The organizers tried to prevent an international incident and sent us aside to a special (vehicle).”
Gal was surprised the organizers gave in to the pressure, writing, “How is it that they let something like this happen, and on the opening night of the Olympic Games? Isn’t this the opposite of what the Olympics represent and (don’t the actions by the Lebanese delegation) work against it? I cannot describe the way I feel. I’m enraged and shocked by this event.”