Lebanese athletes refused to share a bus with Israeli athletes on Friday night, just before the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in Rio, Brazil.
The incident happened as the Lebanese athletes were sitting on the bus waiting to head to the Maracana stadium, where the opening ceremony was about to begin.
Israel team insisted on boarding the bus as the Lebanon team protested. The two teams were finally taken to the ceremony in different buses.
A member of the Israeli delegation to Rio, Udi Gal, wrote a Facebook post that the head of the Lebanese delegation blocked the entrance to the bus with his own body.
Salim al-Haj Nicolas, the head of the Lebanese team, told AFP news agency that he demanded that the door be closed on the Israeli team, but “they insisted on getting on”.
Lebanon and Israel have no diplomatic relations and are officially at war.
The Lebanese team says Israelis staged the embarrassing incident on purpose.
According to the head of the Lebanese team, each delegation was arranged a separate bus, with over 250 buses dedicated to transporting the teams from the Olympic village to the opening ceremony.
“After we boarded Bus 22, which was dedicated to the Lebanese delegation, I was surprised by the Israeli delegation’s approaching and wanting to get on the bus with us,” Salim al-Haj Nakoula told An-Nahar newspaper.
“I asked the driver to shut the door, but the guide who was there with the Israeli delegation prevented him from doing so.”