Former Israeli soccer player Barak Bakhar, who currently manages the Red Star Belgrade soccer team, gave an impassioned speech about Israel as he spoke to reporters on Tuesday.
In the five-minute monologue, Bakhar was in tears as he criticized the soccer world over its reaction to the Hamas attack in Israel on October 7.
He recalled a conversation he had with a nine-year-old Israeli boy, Michael, who is a soccer fan and particularly of Barcelona.
“On October 7, early in the morning, Hamas terrorists entered his home and murdered his parents and kidnapped his little sister, Avigayil, three years old.”
“Michael and his other sister, Amalia, six years old, managed to hide in the closet and they heard how their parents were being murdered. In amazing coolness, they managed to call police, be quiet for 14 hours in the closet and wait until they came to rescue them. This is just one case of hundreds of these horrors that happened [on] this day,” Bakhar said.
“They say that soccer connects between nations, races…people in soccer all the time speak about peace and respect, and I really ask: Where is the respect for those 1,400 people that were murdered? Innocent young men and women that just want to go to celebrate in a peace party and were slaughtered one by one. Entire families burned alive in their home. Alive. Girls raped before being murdered and also after a pregnant woman…those monsters cut open her stomach and shot the baby.”
“More than hundreds of children murdered, 40 of them little babies, more than 200 kidnapped - babies, women, old people that need medicine. How can you ignore this?” asked Bakhar.
He noted that many of those murdered in the Hamas attack are soccer fans but the soccer teams “did not respect their deaths.”
“The soccer world is really disappointing, I must say, and I wonder: Is it all about money? Can money buy also values and justice? On the other hand we are sitting here in Germany, we all know about the history,” added Bakhar, who noted positively the German Soccer Association and local teams which spoke up for the victims of the Hamas attack on Israel.
“And you know it's a little light in the dark sea of silence. My country is bleeding. My family - wife and three kids - [are] running to shelter every day, day and night. A lot of Israeli people are broken, in body and in soul.”
“But I can tell you, all the world should know one important thing: No one will break us. No one will break the Israeli spirit and we will win because we don't have a choice. Am Yisrael Chai,” concluded Bakhar.