The former Israeli cycling champion was excluded from the International Women’s Day event in Canada because she served in the IDF in the past

Leah Goldstein, an Israeli-Canadian athlete with impressive achievements, was destined to be the keynote speaker at the International Women's Day event in Ontario, Canada. But in the last hour, she received a surprising message: her participation was canceled due to her military service in the IDF about three decades ago.

Goldstein, a former Israeli cycling champion, is known for her extraordinary achievements, including winning the Trans-American Endurance Race while breaking the previous record. After her retirement from competitive sports, she lectures throughout North America on the topics of motivation and personal training.

Her invitation to the International Women’s Day event was canceled following complaints received about her military service. The organizers claimed that they canceled her participation out of a desire to “create safe spaces” and “to respect the sensitivity of the conflict in the Middle East.”

Leah Goldstein on the right, in her days as a soldier in the IDF

Goldstein expressed deep disappointment with the decision, emphasizing the fact that the speech she had planned had nothing to do with politics. “My presentation is about life, overcoming difficulties and mental fortitude,” she said. “I didn’t want to follow a political path, because that’s not what I do.”

She added that the demand from her to publish a statement regarding her position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is invalid. “I am very proud of my service in the IDF and my training,” she said. “But I will not allow anyone to impose political views on me.”

Leah Goldstein breaks world records and lectures on determination

Goldstein’s story highlights the status of Israelis around the world and the distorted messages held by countries and organizations regarding the right and duty of the State of Israel to defend itself.

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