update deskIsrael at War

Soccer player could lose Israeli citizenship over Gaza tribute

Ataa Jaber was accused by Israel's culture and sports minister of "identifying with the Nazi terrorist organization Hamas."

Arab Israeli soccer player Ataa Jaber. Source: Wikimedia Commons.
Arab Israeli soccer player Ataa Jaber. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Arab-Israeli soccer player Ataa Jaber could lose his citizenship after observing a moment of silence for Gaza last week during a match.

In a letter to Interior Minister Moshe Arbel, Israel’s Culture and Sports Minister Miki Zohar requested that Jaber’s citizenship be revoked for showing a “clear identification with terrorists.”

Jaber has suited up for Maccabi Haifa, Bnei Sakhnin and FC Ashdod in Israel and currently plays for Azerbaijan Premier League club Neftçi Baku.

He was born to a Muslim family in the Galilee town of Majd al-Krum.

“On November 16, 2023, the Israeli citizen and soccer player Ataa Jaber participated in a match as part of the 2026 World Cup qualifiers in the United Arab Emirates where he represented the team that calls itself ‘Palestine’ against the Lebanese team,” Zohar wrote.

“During the game, Jaber expressed identification with the enemy when he stood for a minute of silence in memory of ‘the victims in Gaza’ while ignoring the murdered on the Israeli side and identifying with the Nazi terrorist organization Hamas.”

“It is impossible that in the midst of the war in Gaza, an Israeli citizen would choose to identify with the enemy who massacred and murdered over 1,300 men, women and babies on Oct. 7, 2023,” Zohar continued.

“We are required to show zero tolerance toward terrorism supporters and to use a heavy hand against any Israeli citizen who expresses support for the enemy.

“Against the background of this clear identification with terrorists, which is prohibited according to the anti-terrorism law, I would like to revoke Jaber’s citizenship in accordance with the conditions set forth in the 1972 Citizenship Law.

“According to the aforementioned law, the interior minister may revoke a person’s Israeli citizenship if it is proven that that person committed an act that constitutes a breach of trust to the State of Israel.”

Arbel for his part is working to revoke the Israeli residency status of individuals affiliated with the Hamas terrorist organization.

Specifically, Arbel began the process to revoke the status of Jerusalem residents Maged Juaba and Rashid Rashek for carrying out “actions to promote and support” terrorism against Israel as part of their membership in the terrorist organizations Hamas and Shabab al-Aqsa.

The minister said his action was in accordance with section 11A of the Law on Entry into Israel, which concerns the denial of residency due to a breach of trust in the State of Israel.

Rashid Rashek was involved as a minor in the stabbing of an Israeli citizen in the Old City of Jerusalem; participated in violent activity on the Temple Mount; established a military unit together with other Hamas operatives whose purpose was to carry out attacks on Israelis and kidnap soldiers; and promoted disturbances against the security forces.

Maged Juaba worked, among other things, to recruit terror operatives, pay salaries, organize and participate in many public actions expressing support for Hamas, as well as transferring funds to the families of Hamas terrorists.

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