History happened in Ben-Gurion airport – in a way that nobody could have imagined.
Iranian judoka Saeid Mollaei had to flee Iran after refusing to avoid Israeli opponents. Today, he landed at Ben-Gurion Airport last night to represent Mongolia in a Judo Grand Slam competition in Tel Aviv. Wow! This scene is historic!
Iranian sports stars have been a persecuted minority in Iran. They sometimes are “caught” losing to an Israeli counterpart, or worse yet, associating with an Israeli sports competitor. And because of that Saeid Mollaei literally fled from Iran!
Iran and Israel have not always been foes. When the State of Israel was established in 1948, 6 Arab regional armies invaded it, including those that did not border with Israel – such as Iraq. But Iran did not. In 1967, Israel faced an existential crisis when Egypt, Syria, and Jordan teamed up to invade. Iran did not join in. In 1973, Israel was caught unprepared, and once again found itself fighting for it’s very existence. During these conflagrations, Iran stood on the sidelines and did not get involved. Actually, Iran was very much in the process of Westernization in a way that made it seem like they would become the most prosperous and open of all of the countries in the Middle East.
But in 1979, everything changed in Iran. The Ayatollahs took over. Iran became a totalitarian country where restrictions on daily life became the norm. Whatever financial resources existed were used to perpetuate a battle against the very existence of Israel via it’s proxies in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip. Even athletes are unable to compete freely and run away to freedom whenever they can. Israel is what is right in the Middle East. The most important thing that any country that cares about promoting peace in the Middle East must know is that Iran is what is wrong in the Middle East. That is why it’s wrestlers flee to Israel.