TEL AVIV – A Saudi student who won an international chemistry tournament and refused to stand next to an Israeli representative has become a trending topic on Arabic social media.
In footage of the incident, Badr al-Mulhim is seen waving the Saudi flag after winning a gold medal at the 50th International Chemistry Olympiad in Slovakia and the Czech Republic. When he realizes that the next person to go on stage is Tel Aviv native and silver medalist Raz Lotan, holding the Israeli flag, al-Mulhim chooses to switch places with the Iranian flag-bearer.
However, while many commentators praised al-Mulhim, posts from the Gulf kingdom mocked his choice, saying that standing next to Iran — Saudi Arabia’s enemy — is no better than Israel.
On the other hand, every few months there are more indications of improved ties between Riyadh and Jerusalem.
This Saudi student is between a rock and a hard place. pic.twitter.com/FvVgL7sN7A
— Mohammed Alyahya محمد اليحيا (@7yhy) July 29, 2018
London-based journalist and analyst Mohammed Alyahya quipped on Twitter, “This Saudi student is between a rock and a hard place.”
Responses to the tweet were mixed. One user wrote: “How can you compare Iran and Israel? The kid had the right moral compass and the adults apparently don’t! Shame on you for equating the two, no matter what we may think of Iranian foreign policy.”
But another user responded by writing that Tehran was worse than Jerusalem: “Sorry but Iran has killed millions of people in Syria, Yemen and Iraq over the past decade, they are worse than the current Israeli regime.”