Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev (Likud) on Monday met with South African powerbroker Tokyo Sexwale, who heads the FIFA committee in charge of regulating soccer-related issues between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA).
The meeting was held as Jibril Rajoub, head of the Palestine Football Association (PFA), continues his anti-Israel campaign at FIFA, calling on the body to ban six small-time Israeli clubs which play in Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.
Rajoub previously campaigned to have Israel suspended from FIFA because, he claimed, Israel was restricting the movement of Palestinian Arab players.
During Monday’s meeting, Regev and Sexwale discussed the steps that Israel should take in order to stop Rajoub’s attempts to force FIFA to impose sanctions on Israel.
Regev stressed to Sexwale the importance of separating sports from politics and noted the fact that sports are meant to connect between people and not to cause separation and threats.
"Jibril Rajoub is trying to take advantage of FIFA for his political goals," she added, noting that she was ready to provide any answer and solution to any difficulties the Palestinians face in the field of sports, but will not accept Rajoub’s repeated attempts to harm Israeli soccer.
"It is inconceivable that Rajoub, who is driven by political interests and personal ambitions, will use FIFA for political purposes and turn sport into a political issue," said Regev.