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An Israeli Jiu-Jitsu gold medalist stood proudly on the podium in the United Arab Emirates as the sweet strains of “Hatikva” came out of the arena’s speakers.

Israel’s national anthem “Hatikva” was played in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, to honor 17-year-old Alon Leviev, who captured the gold medal at the Jiu-Jitsu World Championships.

While Israeli athletes faced decades of boycotts from Arab nations and competitors, the tide has changed during the past several years, with several nations opening their doors to Israelis.

Iran remains a hold out in the Muslim world, maintaining an iron-clad boycott of Israeli athletes, which has driven at least one Iranian martial artist to defect from the Islamic Republic.

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