Four years ago in Athens, Gal Fridman (whose first name means wave) took home the first gold medal for Israel in the men’s windsurfing competition. Fridman’s victory spurred celebrations around Israel and empowered Israeli’s and Jews around the world.

He started a wave of pride as well as a long overdue tribute for the 11 athletes and coaches who were murdered at the Munich Olympic Games in 1972. An article in USA Today captured the moment on that glorious day in August, 2004.

Fridman won it Wednesday…emerging to say that he won the race for countrymen who died before he was born, countrymen taken by hooded and masked Palestinian terrorists who would fly them out of the Games and into their graves. “I hope that they are happy up there,” Fridman said. “When I return to Israel, I’ll go to the memorial place to show them the gold medal.” (MORE)

Israel has undergone many tragedies and hardships in the past four years. The ailing health of a prime minister, the Lebanon War, the internal conflict of Gush Katif, threats from Iran, and most recently the prisoner swap and bulldozing rampages.

Although that all might have sounded very depressing, the 2008 Olympics are on the horizon and the JTA has just reported that there is Gold Medal hope in the air.

A female taekwondo champion will fight for Israel at the Beijing Olympics. Bat-El Gatterer, a 21-year-old resident of Kochav Yaakov, a Jewish settlement near Ramallah, is among 42 athletes Israel is sending to go to this month’s Games in the Chinese capital. (MORE)

Bat-El Gatterer is possibly the first settler to have a shot at a medal and hopefully her presence will rally the Israeli people. I believe Gal Fridman said it best when he spoke about winning gold.

I don’t get into politics, Fridman said. “I don’t understand that stuff. … The only thing I can want is, I would love to bring peace to Israel. The fight (should) stop in the water. If you fight someone, fight him in sport to prove you are better, not in different ways. This is our job as athletes, to show the other side of the Israeli people. We want peace. All of my friends I know want peace.” (MORE)

Hopefully this taekwondo champion will show the other side of the Israeli people.

It would be interesting for a settler to bring Israeli people together.
Let the games begin!

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