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Idan Levi, from Ramat Gan, Israel, won a gold medal at the first worldwide online competition hosted by I-Karate Global Inclusive Karate Federation recently. Levi was one of more than 300 disabled athletes from 24 countries who participated in the karate skills championship.

Levi scored a 24.6 for his kata, a form of karate where an athlete presents a choreographed series of martial arts actions. He demonstrated the Heian Nidan Kata—which consists of 26 specific movements, including a knife-hand block and kicks.

Eric Bortels, head of the Federation, said the streaming event garnered more than 1,000 views on YouTube. The pandemic had shut down sporting events worldwide, and even as countries begin to open up, travel for disabled competitors is always a challenge.

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Amid reports of a prisoner swap and a release of $7 billion in frozen Iranian assets, US officials and US senators are in the Middle East this week hoping to calm concerns over President Joe Biden’s intentions to reenter the failed 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

On Sunday, US officials in Washington denied reports by Iranian state television that a deal had been reached for the countries to swap four prisoners each, in addition to lifting US sanctions keeping $7 billion in oil money frozen in other nations.

“Reports that a prisoner swap deal has been reached are not true,” Ned Price, US Department spokesman, said, echoing remarks made by White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain. “There is no agreement to release these four Americans (accused of spying by Tehran).”

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Sporting events, public pools, gyms, taxis, and trains no longer have to restrict capacity as long as attendees or occupants are vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19. The ministerial committee overseeing Israel’s coronavirus response voted Tuesday to open up venues completely for “Green Pass” holders.

“We are on our way to a full reopening. I welcome the path we have taken and am glad we have reached coronavirus case numbers that until a few months ago would have seemed fantastical,” Chili Tropper, Culture and Sports Minister, said in a statement. “I look forward to seeing you all at culture and sports events next week.”

The plan goes into effect Thursday. Because children are not yet vaccinated, events for them will still be limited—50 in attendance indoors, 500 outdoors.

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After four elections in two years and a month of strange deal-making attempts, Benjamin Netanyahu failed to build a governing coalition by midnight Tuesday. His reign as Israel’s longest-serving prime minister—12 years—could come to an end. Israeli President Reuven Rivlin has now turned to Yesh Atid leader, Yair Lapid, and tasked him with forming a government.

Lapid has already garnered the support of 56 members of the 120 member Knesset, but he still needs five more to get to the majority threshold necessary to govern. Yesh Atid, Lapid’s party, is more centrist in its policies, but Lapid says he is open to left, right, and center parties in his government.

“After two years of political paralysis, Israeli society is hurting. A unity government isn’t a compromise or a last resort—it’s a goal, it’s what we need,” Lapid said in a statement. “We need a government that will reflect the fact we don’t hate each other.” He also promised to “do everything” to bring a coalition together quickly. Lapid has 28 days to form a governing coalition.

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