Israel’s national soccer team met in Kiev to play Ukraine last Wednesday, and media headlines have since criticized the host team for standing alongside young children in the freezing rain, while Israel shielded them from the storm.
The torrential downpour began before the start of the game, during the singing of the national anthems. Both teams were accompanied by young children shivering in the freezing cold rain, Yediot Ahronot reported.
Almost immediately, Israeli players removed their training jackets and covered the children after one of the players noticed them trembling from the bitter cold.
In contrast to the Israeli team, the Ukrainian players stood indifferent to the children before them, showing a “lack of common decency” according to media reports. Ukrainian and Russian headlines read the next day: “Them and Us,” stressing the differences between the Ukrainian players the Israelis reaction. “The human reflex would have been to do what the Israelis did, how could our players not have done that?” said one reporter.
Some of the Israeli players commented that they sincerely did not want the children to get sick from the cold. “I am glad we made the gesture and I hope that all the children returned home safely,” said Israeli soccer player Itay Shechter.
Defensive lineman, Eitan Tibi, added, “When it began to rain during the anthems, we decided to take off our training jackets because we saw that the kids that were with us were freezing from the cold of the strong rain. We immediately decided to place the training jackets on the children so that they would feel a little more cozy and warmer.”
Although Israel was defeated in the match against Ukraine, it was the Ukrainian team that was subject to harsh criticism after the game.