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The president of Israel, Reuven Rivlin, accused this Wednesday (06.06.2018) of Argentina of having made a “politicized” decision with the cancellation of the friendly soccer match that was to be played on Saturday in Jerusalem.
The meeting was canceled on Tuesday for security reasons, after threats and warnings issued by Palestinian groups against the Argentine national team and its captain, Lionel Messi.
“Even in the most difficult times we have done everything possible to keep anything that was not purely sporting away from the field,” Rivlin said today. “It’s a pity that the Argentine team has not managed to do that in this case.”
This friendly soccer match was to be played in a context of high tension between Israelis and Palestinians over the decision of the United States to move its embassy to Jerusalem, a fact that increased the pressure on Argentina from Palestinian sectors.
The protest on Tuesday of propaganda groups in front of the sports city Joan Gamper of Barcelona, where the Argentine national team is concentrated, with T-shirts from the “Albiceleste” stained with blood, precipitated the decision to cancel the match in Jerusalem.
The Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, came to ask the Argentine President, Mauricio Macri, to intercede to play the friendly, but was unsuccessful, according to the newspaper “Clarín”.
The atmosphere had been charged for days and the president of the Palestine Football Association, Jibril Rajoub, said on Sunday that the party is a “political tool” in the service of Israel. “It is not a peace party, but a political party designed to cover up the fascist and racist occupation,” said Rajoub, who even asked that Lioness Messi shirts be burned.