Israel’s First Pro Rugby Team Has Been Disinvited to a Tournament in South Africa

February 7, 2023 | Shiryn Ghermezian
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The Tel Aviv Heat, founded in 2021, is Israel’s first professional rugby team. In March, it was going to travel to South Africa to compete in a tournament, 2023 Mzansi Challenge, against teams from across the African continent.

But, reports Shiryn Ghermezian, the South African Rugby Union (SARU) has disinvited the team. The reason, unsurprisingly, is South Africa’s tradition of vociferous support for BDS.

The announcement was made the same day that the South African BDS Coalition released a statement expressing outrage and calling the rugby union’s invitation to Tel Avi Heat “embarrassing” and an “overtly racist move.” The anti-Israel group also said “if this apartheid Israeli team comes to play in South Africa, SARU will have blood on its hands.” The BDS Coalition then celebrated a victory after the SARU made its decision to disinvite the Israel team and said “kick apartheid Israel out of all sports now.”

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