Gold medal winner Aly Raisman to holiday in Israel

By Anna Sheinman, August 13, 2012

US gymnast and three time Olympic medal winner Aly Raisman has accepted an official invitation to visit Israel for the first time. The Jerusalem Post reported that the 18-year-old Jewish athlete, whose gold medal-winning floor routine was set to 'Hava Nagila', was invited, along with her family, by Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein.

Mr Edelstein wrote in a letter: "I am sure you know that beyond your wonderful personal achievement, you also brought great pride to millions of Jews in Israel and around the world."

He added: "For me personally, as the minister in charge of relations with diaspora Jewry, hearing why you chose the song made me realise that the concept of Kol Israel Arevim Zeh Lazeh (all Jews are responsible for one another) still holds true and that the Jewish people remain united no matter how far apart we may live. I was impressed that someone so young made such a monumental, ethical decision."

Despite the Israeli Olympic team not winning a single medal, the country did not miss out altogether on Olympic glory.

Israeli and US citizen Sue Bird scored 11 points to help the US women's basketball team to its fifth consecutive gold medal on Saturday.

Israeli David Blatt also coached the Russian men's basketball team to a bronze medal. He now returns to Israel to coach Maccabi Tel Aviv.

Following the worst performance by the Israeli team since the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, Culture and Sport Minister Limor Livnat has announced that a committee of experts will examine what went wrong, and report on what lessons can be learned for Rio 2016.

Last updated: 4:26pm, August 13 2012