Sagiv Jehezkel: Israel footballer leaves Turkey after hostage plea row


Sagiv Jehezkel: Israel footballer leaves Turkey after hostage plea row

  • Published3 hours ago


Related Topics

  • Israel-Gaza war
Sagiv Jehezkel, who departed Turkey after being detained
Image caption,Jehezkel was hailed by supporters at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport

An Israeli footballer at the centre of a row over a gesture of solidarity with hostages in Gaza he made during a match in Turkey has returned to Israel.

After Sunday’s match Sagiv Jehezkel was briefly detained in the southern city of Antalya and accused of incitement.

It is unclear whether he faces prosecution if he returns to Turkey. His club, Antalyaspor, has sacked him.

Jehezkel’s arrest prompted a bitter war of words between the Israeli and Turkish governments.

The 28-year-old player, who signed for Antalyaspor in September, was celebrating an equaliser in a Turkish Super Lig match when he held up his bandaged hand that read “100 days. 7/10”.


The bandage also included a star of David.

Antalyaspor's Israeli player Sagiv Jehezkel shows his bandage which has "100 days, 7.10" written on it, referring to the attack by Hamas on October 7, 2023
Image caption,Sagiv Jehezkel was celebrating a goal when he held up the bandage

Sunday marked 100 days since Hamas launched its deadly attacks on southern Israel, killing around 1,200 people, mainly civilians. About 240 people were taken back to Gaza as hostages, approximately 132 of whom are still being held.

The attack triggered Israel’s bombardment of Gaza, killing more than 23,000 people, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.

After Sunday’s incident

, Turkey’s Justice Minister Yilmaz Tunc said an investigation had been launched into the player’s “ugly action supporting Israel’s massacre in Gaza”.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has long been a staunch supporter of the Palestinians, including Hamas, and has been highly critical of Israel’s conduct in Gaza. The country has also seen large pro-Palestinian rallies since 7 October.

Mr Erdogan’s chief adviser called the player “Israel’s vile dog in a footballers clothing”.

According to local media, Jehezkel gave a statement through a translator saying he did not “make a move to provoke”, but wanted the war to end.

“I am not a pro-war person… There are Israeli soldiers captured in Gaza. I am someone who believes that this 100-day period should end now. I want the war to end,” he said.

Israeli officials have criticised Turkey’s actions towards the footballer.

Defence Minister Yadav Gallant said Israel had supported Turkey in last year’s earthquakes, and accused Turkey of serving as a “de facto executive arm” of Hamas,

The Turkish Football Federation described Jehezkel’s actions as “unacceptable”, and said the decision by Antalyaspor to exclude him from the squad was “appropriate”.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *