Despite heavy pressure from the Boycott Divestment Sanctions movement to cancel his trip, the world’s most popular soccer player Lionel Messi and his Argentinian team visited Israel for a soccer match this week.
The match, between the Argentine National Soccer Team and Uruguay, came more than a year after Argentina cancelled a match against Israel in Jerusalem succumbing to pressure from pro-Palestinian organizations.
This time, Messi and his squad arrived, to the thrill of soccer fans across the nation who love Messi and the sport itself. Some 20,000 Israelis attended the game, one of the largest soccer matches to ever take place in the Jewish state.
The two South American giants drew 2-2 in their Monday match in Tel Aviv.
More than a year ago, the team canceled a trip to Israel for a pre-World Cup friendly match because the game was to be played in Jerusalem. Palestinians put pressure on the South American team because they claim that any event that takes place in Jerusalem recognizes Israeli sovereignty over the city. Palestinians claim the eastern part of the city as the capital of their future state.
The Palestinian Football Association had not complained about this week’s game because it was being held in Tel Aviv. The BDS movement, however, condemned the game and pressured the teams — as they do to all performers, artists and athletes — not to attend.
May God bless Leonid Messi and his Argentine team and the Uruguayans for standing with Israel.