Jewish Kiwi Olympian Says Gold Medal Also for Israel
Sailor Jo Aleh was one of four Jewish Olympians to medal in London
New Zealand-born Jewish Olympian Jo Aleh, who won gold during the London summer Games in the women’s 470 sailing event, said that part of her medal also “belongs to Israel” upon her return from England.
Aleh’s parents, Shuki Shukrun and Daniella Aleh, are both dual citizens of New Zealand and Israel.
Her father currently lives in Moshav Yinon near Kiryat Malachi, while her mother is a former IDF soldier.
The 26-year-old and her sailing partner Polly Powrie won the gold medal this past Friday, defeating British duo Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark in the final race by 16 points.
“It feels great to know that there is even more people behind me and, given my parents’ background,” she said. “Part of my medal belongs to Israel.”
With the victory, Aleh is believed to be the first New Zealand-born Jew to ever take home a medal at the Olympic Games.
“I was not aware of this,” she said. “I guess it’s a good bonus.”
Aleh is currently back in New Zealand to attend parades this week in honour of New Zealand’s medalists.
In just two weeks, she is scheduled to be in Israel to celebrate her half-sister’s bat mitzvah.
“I am still hoping to make it back to Israel in time,” she told the JTA.
Aleh was one of four Jewish athletes at the Olympics to take home a medal this year.
Her fellow Jewish Olympian from New Zealand, Nathan Cohen, also captured gold in men’s rowing along with his partner Joseph Sullivan.
American gymnast Aly Raisman won two gold medals and a bronze in London while swimmer Jason Lezak won a silver in the men’s 4x100m freestyle relay.