Israeli sports fans are eager to get their dose of national pride. Said pride was achieved Friday at the Women’s 470 sailing medal race, as Jo Aleh wond the gold medal at the race, along with partner Polly Powrie.
Aleh, 26, was born in and is representing New Zealand, but she is also the daughter of Israeli Shuki Shukrun, from Moshav Yinon in the south of Israel.
After the first Lebanon War in 1982, Shukrun moved to New Zealand with Daniella Aleh, who would later become his wife. Their daughter Jo, or Kesem by her Israeli name, was born in New Zealand and pursued her passion for sailing since she was 10-years-old. She did so with such commitment that at her Bat Mitzvah, held in Beersheba, she asked guests to help sponsor her first sailboat.
Shuki’s current wife, Tali Shukrun, told Ynet: “At a very early age Jo said that her dream was to win an Olympic medal, and she’s been giving up a lot for that. It’s an Israeli pride,” Tali said, “even though she’s not racing under the Israeli flag, the genes are definitely Israeli.”
A fellow Olympic competitor, Israeli Vered Bouskila, said that Jo and her partner have committed a foul on Buskila and her partner’s sailboat, but the two Israelis decided not to file an appeal, which would ruin the New Zealanders’ chance for a medal. As a result, Aleh and her partner remained in the race with the same score as that of the British pair.
“We have a great professional relationship,” Bouskilla said of Aleh. “She understands Hebrew, but we talk in English. She came up to us to thank us for not calling foul on them, and the conduct was friendly. She sometimes listens to our conversations in Hebrew and laughs with the Israeli team.”