Arab MK welcomes cancellation of Argentina soccer game

MK Jamal Zahalka urges world to continue pressuring Israel after cancellation of friendly match between Israeli and Argentine teams.

Neri Weiss,

Jamal Zahalka
Jamal Zahalka
Flash 90

MK Jamal Zahalka (Joint List) on Tuesday welcomed the decision of Argentina’s national soccer team to cancel a planned friendly match with the Israeli national team, which was scheduled to take place in Jerusalem this Saturday.

"I congratulate the Argentine team on its decision to cancel the game at Al-Maliha Stadium," tweeted Zahalka, referencing the name the Arabs use to call the Teddy Stadium, where the game was to have been played.

"The world should pressure Israel to accept the UN resolutions for peace without occupation," Zahalka added.

The friendly match was cancelled earlier on Tuesday following Palestinian Arab pressure on the Argentine team not to play in Jerusalem.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke with Argentine President Mauricio Macri following the cancellation of the game, but officials in the Prime Minister's Office said that Macri informed Netanyahu that he has no influence on the decision whether or not to hold the game as scheduled.

Meanwhile, Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev (Likud) spoke on Tuesday night with Danny Ben Naim, the organizer of the friendly, and was updated by him on the frantic efforts that are being made so that the Argentine team will come to play in Israel as scheduled despite reports that the game had been cancelled.

Regev was told that ever since the Argentine national team announced it would play in Israel, various terrorist organizations have been sending messages and threats to the team’s players and their families, with explicit threats to harm their lives and their family's lives. Among other things, the players were sent videos and pictures of children's bodies.

Minister Regev said, "I hope that Argentina's players will not succumb to the terror threats and to the BDS organizations."

Some of the public pressure against the game came from within Israel and not just from pro-Arab activists. Last Friday, MK Yousef Jabareen (Joint List) met the Argentinean ambassador to Israel and ask his country to reconsider the Argentina team's appearance in Jerusalem.

"I stressed that the game, in the wake of the killing of the Palestinians in Gaza and the relocation of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, sends a dangerous message to the Israeli government that the world ignores its gross human rights violations. Messi cannot turn his back on the Palestinian victims," said Jabareen.

Earlier this week, Palestinian Football Association chief Jibril Rajoub called on Argentina star Lionel Messi not to play in the Argentina-Israel game in Jerusalem, urging fans to burn their shirts if he does.








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