Abboud becomes first-ever Arab basketball player to captain Israeli club

Source: Xinhua| 2018-10-23 05:42:24|Editor: yan
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JERUSALEM, Oct. 22 (Xinhua) -- Shahd Abboud became the first-ever Arab female basketball player to captain an Israeli club in the top league and made her debut with the captain armband on Monday.

Abboud, 23, who had played four years college basketball in the United States, scored six points for the Israeli side Hapoel Petah-Tikva on Monday evening, but her team lost 77-71 to Bnei Herzliyya in the season opener.

The first-ever Arab captain in the 61-year history of the Israeli women's basketball league, Abboud joined Hapoel Petah-Tikva in the summer 2017 and plays as a guard.

Abboud lives in the northern Arab city of Shefa-Amr in which most residents are Muslims (about 59 percent), and the rest are Christians.

Her father Hani is a basketball coach in the nearby city of Nazareth, and her mother Muna played basketball until recently. Abboud's younger brother Man'am, 15, is also a basketball player.

"In Arab society, sports are more a hobby, and less as a profession, but it is getting better now, there are more Arab girls making it to Israel's youth national teams," Abboud told "Ynet" news website.

She added, "sport is perhaps the only thing in Israel that is still pure and without politics. When you play in a team that has Arabs and Jews, you never relate to the political or ethnic issues."

However, like other Arab-Israeli athletes, Abboud still feels uncomfortable when viewed during the Israeli national anthem in the Hebrew language, which includes the line that translates as "a Jewish soul still yearns."

"I was in all the Israeli youth national teams and always stood when the anthem was played, but I do not sing it," she admitted.