The war between Israel and Hamas is now being exported to the football fields. Israeli player Sagiv Jehezkel was arrested in Turkey as part of an investigation for “public incitement to hatred” after posting a message on Sunday January 14 referring to the conflict during a first division championship match. Several Turkish media outlets, including the official Anadolu news agency and the private channel NTV, reported that he had been taken into police custody in the evening.

Scorer of a goal during the Turkish Süper Lig match against Trabzonspor, Sagiv Jehezkel, who also has 8 caps with the Israeli national team, showed a bandage on his wrist on which was written “100 days, 07.10” − which recalls the date of the attack perpetrated by the Palestinian movement Hamas on Israeli soil, October 7, 2023 −, as well as the Star of David, symbol of the Jewish state.

“The Antalya prosecutor’s office has opened a judicial investigation against Israeli footballer Sagiv Jehezkel for “public incitement to hatred” due to his heinous celebration in favor of the massacre committed by Israel in Gaza,” announced, on the social network , the Turkish Minister of Justice, Yilmaz Tunç.

The message, which also refers to the hundred days that have passed since the Hamas assault, is interpreted by the minister as a testimony of support for Israeli military operations launched in retaliation in the Gaza Strip. “We will continue to support the oppressed Palestinians,” the Turkish minister wrote, denouncing an ongoing “genocide” in Gaza.

“Against the values” of the country

The Antalyaspor club announced that it had excluded its Israeli player, whom it accused of having “acted against the values ​​of our country”.

“We condemn the completely unacceptable behavior of footballer Sagiv Jehezkel during the match between Antalyaspor and Trabzonspor played today (…) and find Antalyaspor’s decision to exclude the player from its team appropriate. The necessary disciplinary procedures and investigations against those responsible were immediately initiated,” added, for its part, the Turkish Football Federation (TFF).

Since the start of the conflict between Israel and Hamas, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a traditional ally of the Palestinian cause, has repeatedly described Israel as a “terrorist state”, believing that Hamas, considered a terrorist group by he European Union and many countries including the United States, was a “group of liberators.”

According to the Hamas health ministry, Israeli military operations in the Gaza Strip have left at least 23,968 dead, mostly civilians. The unprecedented attack launched on October 7 by Hamas on Israeli soil left around 1,140 dead, mostly civilians, according to a count by Agence France-Presse based on Israeli data.