The Israeli under-18 chess team currently competing in the World Youth Chess Championship in the United Arab Emirates has been forced to do so anonymously.
Members of the Israeli delegation are not listed as representing Israel, but are listed as belonging to FIDE, the Federation Internationale des Echecs, or World Chess Federation. The Israeli flag is nowhere to be found on the championship’s official website either, The Algemeiner reported.
Almog Burstein, executive director of the Israeli Chess Federation, told The Algemeiner it was likely that the organizers got instructions from government officials to remove the Israeli flag.
“For them there is no such country as Israel, ” he said.
The youths were allowed to compete only after Israeli Chess Federation head Moshe Shalev warned organizers that FIDE would nullify the tournament if Abu Dhabi refused to host the Israeli team, according to the Times of Israel.
The five Israeli chess players on the team, including Anastasia Vuller, who placed first in October’s under-10 European chess championship, were able to compete in an Arab country for the first time in history, the Times of Israel reported.