JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s Olympic Committee reversed its decision to use a commercial symbol as its official Games mascot.
The committee had selected the Bamba baby, a cartoon toddler with a red tuft of hair and a blue diaper, as Israel’s official mascot in this summer’s Olympics in London. Bamba is made by the Osem company, which paid the committee $40,000 to use the character.
Osem withdrew its character late Tuesday, a day after Bamba baby was announced as the mascot and socioeconomic protest groups voiced their disapproval. Osem agreed to leave the money with the committee to support Israel’s Olympic effort.
The committee had put the Bamba baby in place when its first choice for mascot, a prickly pear named Shpitzik, was withdrawn after a Tel Aviv court ruled that it resembled a character on educational television and ordered the Olympic committee to pay the channel a fine.