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Knesset Sports Unit Votes 6-1 to Recommend Boycott of Olympics

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The Knesset Subcommittee for Sports has voted 6-1 to recommend that the Israel Olympic Committee (IOC) boycott the Olympic Games in Moscow this summer. The IOC is scheduled to vote May 22 on whether to attend the games.

The subcommittee’s chairperson, Orah Nomir, was the only one so vote against the recommendation, saying Israel should wait until the West European countries have made their final decisions. She noted that the European countries, could decide not to go to the Olympics and then reverse their decisions and be welcomed with open arms in Moscow. But she said it Israel voted to boycott the Games and then changed its mind, it would be barred not only from Moscow but from other international athletic events.

The resolution adopted by the subcommittee called on the IOC to demand that if Israel did not go to Moscow the U.S. Olympic Committee and the committees of other friendly nations would not compete in other international athletic events from which Israel was barred.

IOC chairman Yitzhak Ofek said the Knesset subcommittee recommendation will be considered before the IOC makes a decision. The committee is also scheduled to meet with Premier Menachem Begin, who is expected to urge it to boycott the Games.

The decisions made by the Olympic committees in West Europe, particularly the West Germans, is expected to weigh heavily in the Israeli decision. Israel competes in international events through European athletic federations, since the Arabs and their supporters have succeeded in barring Israel from Asian competition. The French Olympic Committee voted today to attend the Moscow Games. The West German decision is expected Thursday.

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