'It's not BDS - it's terror'

Sports Minister emphasizes that Argentinian team's cancellation of friendly game came amid terror threats against its players.

Nitzan Keidar ,

Miri Regev
Miri Regev
Miriam Alster/Flash 90

Sports Minister Miri Regev held a press conference on Wednesday evening, following the cancellation of the friendly match between the Israeli and Argentinian soccer teams.

"A little while ago I was updated on the decision to cancel the game scheduled for this coming Saturday night. The Argentinians are asking forgiveness from the Israeli public because they understand that the decision is extreme. This is a decision stemming from threats to the life of the national team star Messi. The terror threats to his life were decisive for him," Regev said.

Regev showed pictures taken during the Argentinian team's recent practices in Barcelona. "These are pictures of terrorist elements threatening the life of Messi, his family and members of the Argentinian national team," she said, adding that "this is a new-old terror that frightens, deters and intimidates athletes."

"This is the same terrorism that led to the murder of the fallen in Munich. Then they were murderers from Black September, today it is Jibril Rajoub who continues with the terror," Regev added, pointing a finger at the chairman of the Palestinian Football Association.

Regev claimed that transferring the game to Jerusalem is not the reason why Argentina will not come to Israel. "There is no greater lie than that. The Argentinians never objected to holding the game in Jerusalem. The game was conceived because of Messi's desire to come to Jerusalem, kiss the Western Wall and visit the Church of the Holy Sepulcher," she said.

She concluded her speech by saying, "I understand the great disappointment of tens of thousands, but let's raise our heads, there was no disaster. We cannot let incidents like this prevent us from pride and happiness in our country. We have nothing to be ashamed of.”