(June 6, 2018 / JNS) Israel’s Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev, speaking out after the cancellation of a friendly soccer match in Jerusalem between Israel and the Argentine national team, said it was a result of “terror threats” against Argentinian soccer star Lionel Messi that prompting the decision.
“The game was canceled for one reason only—threats to the life of the star Messi,” Regev told reporters. “The terror threats against him and his family overwhelmed the world-soccer star.”
Regev drew comparisons of the threats again Messi to the threats and eventual deadly attack against Israeli athletes during the 1972 Summer Olympic Games in Munich, Germany.
“These are photos by terror factions threatening Argentina’s team members,” she said. “This is a new-old form of terrorism which scares, deters and terrorizes athletes. This is the terrorism that causes the Munich attack.”
Regev also dismissed accusations that by some Israeli Arab lawmakers that she purposely held the match in Jerusalem, instead of other locations like Haifa, in order for it to be canceled.
“It’s not Jerusalem or Haifa,” she said. “It’s not BDS. These are real threats.”
After numerous threats against Messi, the Argentinian national soccer team cancelled the match scheduled to take place on Saturday night at Jerusalem’s Teddy Kollek Stadium.
Argentine Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie confirmed the threats, saying the players and the coach wanted to cancel the game, having been influenced by viral social-media campaigns, threats and bloodied Argentinian-team shirts used during protests.