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Updated January 15th, 2024 at 09:04 IST

Israeli Footballer Arrested in Turkey for Displaying Message Related to Israel War, Tel Aviv reacts

Amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas war, an Israel footballer was arrested in Turkey for displaying a message referring to the ongoing conflict during a match.

Israeli footballer named Sagiv Jehezkel displays message related to Israel-Hamas war
Israeli footballer named Sagiv Jehezkel displays message related to Israel-Hamas war | Image:X - @naftalibennett
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Antalya - Amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas war, an Israel footballer was arrested in Turkey for displaying a message referring to the ongoing conflict during a match. The arrest took place after Turkish Justice Minister Yilmaz Tunc announced an investigation into the footballer named Sagiv Jehezkel. According to The Times of Israel, the footballer was arrested in Antalya on late Sunday. The 28-year-old celebrated his equalizer goal in Sunday’s 1-1 draw match by making a heart sign with his hands on the camera and displaying the words “100 days. October 7” along with a Star of David symbol on his wristband. Shortly after the match against Trabzonspor, Jehezkel's team Antalyaspor sacked him from the football club. 

"A judicial investigation has been initiated by the Antalya Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office against Israeli football player Sagiv Jehezkel for ‘inciting people to hatred and hostility’ due to his ugly gesture supporting Israel’s massacre in Gaza after scoring a goal in the Antalyaspor-Trabzonspor Super Lig match,” the Turkish Justice Minister wrote on X, formally known as Twitter. After the footballer received significant backlash in Turkey, Antalyaspor club's president pledged to terminate his contract. Amid the chaos, a protest broke out outside the offices of the football club demanding Jehezkel’s departure from the team, citing local media.

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Former Israeli PM slams Turkey 

Meanwhile, former Israeli  Prime Minister Naftali Bennett slammed the Turkish administration for arresting the Israeli footballer. “Welcome to Turkey’s Midnight Express. This is unbelievable. An Israeli football player, Sagiv Yehezkel, scored a goal for Antalyaspor, a Turkish team. He made a gesture “100” for the Israelis who have been held hostage by Hamas for the past 100 days," the former Israeli premier wrote on X. All hell broke loose: - He was condemned by the national football association. His team announced he was suspended. Then they said he’d be fired. And to top it up, Turkish police have arrested him (!) and he’s undergoing interrogation. Yes, for making this simple gesture. This is Turkey 2024. Shame on you, the Turkish government," Bennett furthered. 

According to Ynet News, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was briefed on the matter and that the Prime Minister’s Office together with the Foreign Ministry and the Culture and Sports Ministry were working to push Turkey for Jehezkel’s release.

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Published January 15th, 2024 at 09:04 IST

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