Despite victory over Austria, Israeli soccer fans boo ‘anti-Israel’ Muslim player - The Jewish Voice
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Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Despite victory over Austria, Israeli soccer fans boo ‘anti-Israel’ Muslim player

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By Josh Plank, World Israel News

The Israeli national team soundly defeated Austria 5-2 in a soccer World Cup qualifier on Saturday night, but despite the win, many fans at Sammy Ofer Stadium in Haifa openly voiced their disapproval of Arab-Israeli player Munas Dabbur.

Dabbur, who posted what many viewed as an anti-Israel message on Instagram in May, was booed throughout the game, even when he scored the second of the team’s five goals.

“It was unpleasant, but he expected it,” Dabbur’s teammate Eran Zahavi said in a post-match interview.

“We understood it would happen, but I think we as a team and Munas in particular handled it incredibly,” he said, adding, “It is a conflicted country, we will never be able to fully understand each other.”

As testament to the conflict, several politicians weighed in on the situation.

Knesset Member Itamar Ben Gvir of the Religious Zionism party tweeted, “How good it is that most of the crowd just scorned and voted verbally against this terrorist supporter.”

Knesset Member Ayman Odeh of the Joint Arab List disagreed. “The one who deserves shouts of contempt is not Munas Dabbur, but the Football Association which demanded that he apologize for protesting against injustice,” he tweeted.

Odeh was referring to a recent apology issued by Dabbur at the request of the Israel Football Association (IFA).

On May 8, two days before the launch of Operation Guardian of the Walls, Dabbur had posted a verse from the Quran and an image of the Al-Aqsa Mosque on his Instagram account.

The verse read, “Allah will deal with the perpetrators of injustice,” an apparent statement against Israeli soldiers who were clashing with Arab rioters on the Temple Mount.

Dabbur’s brother Anas defended him at the time in an interview with Sport 5.

“He didn’t do anything wrong. He just quoted a Quran verse, not expressing an opinion. It’s disappointing that someone like Munas, a leading player in the national team, gets this kind of treatment,” he said.

Following Israel’s wins against the Faroe Islands and Austria, the team is set to face off against Denmark on Tuesday.

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