Special to the JTA Japan Revokes Invitation to Israel to Participate in World Karate Games
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Special to the JTA Japan Revokes Invitation to Israel to Participate in World Karate Games

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Dennis Hanover, coach of the Israel karate team and head of the Israel Karate Federation, left here last night for Israel dismayed and disturbed over the fact that the Israel karate team’s invitation to the upcoming World Games, involving 70 nations in Japan, has been revoked. Hanover, a South African, who made aliya together with several of his countrymen now representing Israel in karate, was in New York for a hurried trip to set up a tour of the United States for his karate team.

According to Hanover, the Kyokushinkai karate organization, one of two types of karate in vogue around the world, had invited Israel through its association head, Mas Oyama, to participate in the tournament which will be held in Tokyo beginning Nov. 20. Oyama is highly respected all over the world as a karate teacher and is the initiator of the Kyokushinkai type of karate. He was Hanover’s teacher and got him interested in this type of karate and offered to help organize the Israeli karate people involved in this sport.

Hanover told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that Israel competed in Japan in 1977 and was very well received at that time. According to Hanover, perhaps the main reason for Israel’s dismissal from the 70-nation group which will participate in the karate tournament is the fact that the Arab League countries are very strong and very much involved in the organization of Kyokushinkai. The Honorary President of the Tokyo tournament is King Hussein of Jordan.


The Palestine Liberation Organization has been invited and will send a group of three karate participants to represent them in the tournament. It is alleged that they told the organizers of the tourney that in the event Israel was invited and showed up to compete, they, the PLO, would bomb the site of the competition.

Since the six or seven men who would represent Israel in this karate tournament received furloughs from the army, which cannot be postponed, Hanover flew to New York to confer with Rabbi Alex Sternberg, who heads the worldwide Jewish Karate Federation, in order to set up a substitute tour for the Israelis.

It appears likely that the Israeli team will compete in New York, Miami, Chicago and Las Vegas. Hanover and Sternberg, who is also the coach of the American team, worked out a program where by Israel will compete against the United States National team in Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas on Nov. 27, then will go against teams in Chicago, New York and Miami.

Sternberg indicated to this writer that in addition to competing against the United States National team in Las Vegas and possibly one of the other three sites, the Israelis will compete against the Jewish team which will be representing the U.S. in the 1981 Maccabiah Games.

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