Under pressure from sponsor, Jerusalem changes route for marathon to avoid disputed territory.

JERUSALEM’S MUNICPAL government has changed the planned route of the city’s first marathon to avoid going through disputed East Jerusalem, Maan News Agency has reported.

Three Jerusalem city council members first raised objections to the route in December, when they discovered that the planned path would run through portions of East Jerusalem. In a letter to Adidas, Pepe Alalu, Laura Wharton, and Meir Margalit wrote that “the overwhelming majority of the general population abroad will doubtless express their opposition once details of the marathon are made public.”

Shortly afterwards, a group of Israeli members of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement wrote another letter to Adidas urging the company to withdraw its sponsorship of the marathon, calling the race “running apartheid.”

For his part, council member Elisha Peleg, who manages sports for the city, said that he felt it was important for the marathon route to run through both East and West Jerusalem.

“A small part of it runs through East Jerusalem because East Jerusalem is part of Jerusalem, and that’s not political; it’s factual,” Peleg said.

The marathon’s new route will stay in West Jerusalem, within the boundaries of the “Green Line,” according to a report from Israeli newspaper Maariv. While the newspaper described the move as a submission to sponsors, Jerusalem’s municipal government insisted it had not submitted, and that the marathon’s route was originally planned to stay within West Jerusalem.

However, a comparison of the updated route map on the marathon’s website with a screenshot of the original map revealed significant differences.

The marathon is scheduled to take place on March 25.

Feature image: Maan News Agency / Jerusalem Marathon

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