Israeli soccer
Israeli soccer iStock

Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz announced today that he had instructed the Israeli embassy in Paris to cancel the Strasbourg police directive not to allow fans of the Maccabi Haifa team to fly Israeli flags.

On Wednesday morning, Strasbourg police announced restrictions for the some 600 Israelis expected to attend Thursday evening's match between Israel's Maccabi Haifa soccer team and RC Strasbourg Alsace.

The ban includes waving the Israeli flag in the stadium or anywhere in the city. Maccabi Haifa fans are also forbidden from wearing team shirts or other items bearing the team logo on the day of the match.

On Wednesday night, three Maccabi Haifa fans were violently attacked by locals, according to Israel Hayom.

"Following the request of the Sports Minister, I instructed the Israeli embassy in France to act immediately to remove the restrictions imposed on the Maccabi Haifa team regarding the number of fans and the prohibition of raising the Israeli flag in their match against the Strasbourg team," Minister Katz wrote on Twitter.

Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev had asked the Foreign Ministry to intervene with the French authorities and bring about a change in the decision.

Minister Regev noted, "The decision of the Strasbourg police to prevent fans from flying the Israeli flag is an insane decision. I expect the French authorities to ensure the safety of the fans and players of the team and to allow fans to encourage their team, as is the case in all sports fields and in all competitions. It is unthinkable that a fan of an Israeli team will walk around in fear at a French football stadium and won't be allowed to hoist the Israeli flag or the flag of his team.

"When the Strasbourg police decision came to light, I contacted the Foreign Ministry so they would immediately work with French government officials to intervene in the police decision and allow Maccabi Haifa fans to proudly carry their state and team colors."

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