The Israeli national soccer players Ramzi Safuri (28) and Sagiv Jehezkel (28) will not play for the Turkish first division club Antalyaspor under coach Nuri Sahin on Saturday in protest. The reason: In the Süper Lig there is a minute's silence and other actions to commemorate the Palestinians who lost their lives in Israeli air strikes. The Turkish association president Mehmet Büyükeksi announced this at a press conference on Thursday. In addition, the players should wear mourning ribbon.
"As footballers who are proud to be national team players, we have no intention of taking part in this ceremony or even being present in the stadium. We have made this clear to the club's officials and they respect our decision," shared Safuri and Jehezkel said in a statement, according to Turkish and Israeli media. The club confirmed this at the request of the German Press Agency. According to Antalyaspor, players will display a banner before Süper Lig games that reads: "We condemn the oppression in Gaza."
In their statement, the Israeli players further said: "The bad news from the country has made playing football an almost impossible task for us. The team respects our decision and supports us fully. We will continue to be among those in the future who will build new bridges. Our hearts and thoughts are with our brothers and sisters in Israel." Jehezkel and Safuri have been playing at Antalyaspor under former Bundesliga professional Sahin since September; previously they were only under contract with Israeli clubs.
The Islamist Hamas invaded Israeli border towns with hundreds of terrorists on October 7th and carried out a massacre with 1,400 deaths. A good 200 people were kidnapped as hostages in the Gaza Strip. Since then, Israel has been bombing Hamas positions in the densely populated Gaza Strip, where thousands of Palestinians have died and hundreds of thousands have fled to the south.