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Members of the Ireland women's basketball team pictured before they faced Israel in EuroBasket qualifying, February 8, 2024 (X screengrab, used in accordance with Clause 27a of the copyright law)

Israeli Basketball Team Wins After Irish Team Refuses to Shake Hands

An Israeli women’s basketball team beat Ireland 87 to 57 in the first game of the 2025 Women’s EuroBasket qualifier in Riga on Thursday evening, February 8, a game in which sport was overshadowed by politics when the Irish team refused to shake hands with their Israeli counterparts.

The Israeli Basketball Association (IBBA) said on social media that the victory came “despite the lack of sportsmanship of the visiting team.” However, the national governing body for basketball in Ireland said in a statement that “Basketball Ireland fully supports our players in their decision.”

The statement by Basketball Ireland detailed that it informed the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) on Wednesday that its players would not be exchanging gifts or formal handshakes before or after the game, and that players would line up by the bench rather than at center court for the playing of their anthem.

IBBA published an interview with Israeli basketball player Dor Saar on Tuesday in which she touched on the behavior and statements of the Irish team. “It’s known that they are quite antisemitic and it’s no secret, and maybe that’s why a strong game is expected,” said Saar. “We have to show that we’re better than them and win.”

A few days earlier, on Saturday, Israeli windsurfer Sharon Kantor, 21, also won a gold medal at the iQFoil World Championships, punching her ticket to the Paris Olympics this summer. (JPost / VFI News)