Olympic Committee of Israel President Yael Arad believes her election as an IOC member can "give my community in Israel a lot of inspiration" ©Getty Images

Olympic Committee of Israel President Yael Arad has admitted it was a difficult decision to attend the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Session here where she was elected as a member, but wants it to serve as a morale boost for her home nation.

More than 1,400 people were killed in the initial assault by Hamas on Saturday (October 7), with approximately 3,000 Palestinians killed and more than one million displaced by retaliatory strikes.

Both sides have been accused of breaching international law and committing war crimes.

Arad's participation in Mumbai had been uncertain, and she revealed after being elected by 71 votes to five she had lost relatives in the attacks by Hamas.

"So it was very difficult," she said.

"I left home with 900 murdered friends, family and the community, innocent people.

"And now we have already 1,400 murdered from one black Saturday of horrific terror attack.

"I can't stop thinking about 199 hostages that were kidnapped, babies four months old, four years old boys and girls, so my heart and my thoughts are with all the families that lost, including my family.

"We lost from both sides cousins in my neighbourhood, so it was very difficult.

"But I felt that it was my obligation to come here, to show the world that we are still here.

"I appreciate very much the platform of the Olympic Committee and the Olympic Movement, and for me it's a dream come true to serve here, to be part of these nations, and I think at this difficult time I give my community in Israel lot of inspiration and a lot of hope that we will prevail and our life will come back to normal."

Yael Arad of Israel, fourth from left, was one of eight officials elected as an IOC member in Mumbai ©Getty Images
Yael Arad of Israel, fourth from left, was one of eight officials elected as an IOC member in Mumbai ©Getty Images

Arad revealed in her capacity as Olympic Committee of Israel President she had urged athletes to give inspiration to wounded people and soldiers, and they are visiting hospitals in the country,

She was Israel's first-ever Olympic medallist with her judo bronze at Barcelona 1992, and claimed the Olympic Movement can help to build bridges in the face of conflict.

"This organisation must show the world that through sports we build bridges and we give hope to many people, to many conflicts around the world," Arad said.

"With it we have to always condemn, but we have to always remember that in the bridges that we built we cannot allow terror."

The IOC Executive Board expressed its sympathies with innocent victims of the Israel-Hamas War at its meeting in Mumbai.

Los Angeles 2028 chairperson Casey Wasserman began his speech yesterday before unveiling plans for the five additional sports by declaring himself "proud to be Jewish", and proclaiming "I unequivocally stand in solidarity with Israel, but let me be clear I also stand with the innocent civilians in Gaza who did not choose this war".

Pakistan's Syed Shahid Ali criticised Wasserman for the comments, but France's Guy Drut, referencing his experience of the terrorist attack which killed 11 Israeli athletes and coaches at the Munich 1972 Olympics, came to his defence.

The violence is the worst in the region for decades, and has marked a major escalation in the long-standing conflict between Gaza and Israel.