03/14/2012 08:19 EDT | Updated 05/14/2012 05:12 EDT

After public backlash, Israel drops diapered baby as Olympic mascot

JERUSALEM - In the end, Israelis didn't want their Olympic athletes at London's Summer Games to be represented by a red-haired baby in blue diapers.

Earlier this week, the Israeli Olympic Committee unveiled "Baby Bamba," a figure advertising a popular peanut snack made by food company Osem, as the team's mascot.

The committee and the company decided to withdraw the choice "after listening to the reactions of the public," Osem said in a statement. Osem said it would not withdraw its sponsorship of the team.

Critics said the mascot was undignified and a sign of commercialism taken too far.

Israeli Olympic chief Ephraim Zinger defended the initial choice, telling Israel's army radio Wednesday that the team needs commercial sponsors because public funds fall short.