Conflicts & War

Israeli footballer freed in Turkey after displaying controversial Oct.7 message

Ankara, Jan 15 (EFE).- An Israeli footballer arrested for displaying a message related to hostages held by the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas was released on Monday.

Sagiv Jehezkel, the midfielder for Turkish Antalyaspor, was set free after he told a Turkish court that he was advocating for an end to the war in Gaza when he showed a message during a match, commemorating the 100 days since the Hamas attacks in Israel.

He faced charges of inciting hatred after displaying a bracelet with the message “100 days” and the date Oct. 7, the day when Hamas allegedly massacred around 1,200 people and kidnapped some 250 in 2023.

The player’s gesture, following his team’s 1-1 tie with Trabzonspor on Sunday, triggered an investigation. The club subsequently announced Jehezkel’s dismissal, citing a contradiction with Turkish national values.

Jehezkel’s release without a trial indicates, according to experts consulted by EFE, that no charges have been filed against him.

NTV broadcaster reported that a private plane has arrived in Turkey to take the player back to Israel.

Jehezkel clarified that by displaying the message, which also featured a Star of David as a symbol of Israel, he intended to call for an end to the war.

He had previously faced a temporary suspension for refusing to participate in an act of solidarity with the Palestinian people before a match on Oct. 21.

The Turkish Football Federation described the player’s behavior as “unacceptable”.

The Turkish government has been critical of Israel’s retaliatory attacks in Gaza that killed 24,000 Palestinians with 7,000 more missing under the rubble of destroyed buildings, according to the Hamas-led government in the strip. EFE

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