Israeli embassy in Argentina creates video in support of country’s national soccer team


BUENOS AIRES (JTA) — The Israeli embassy in Argentina spread a message of support for its host country’s national team at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, despite the cancelled friendly match between Israel and Argentina.

The messages included strong support for team star Lionel “Lio” Messi, who had been the victim of death threats over his planned participation in the match in Jerusalem.

The delegation posted on social media a video saying that they “will be waiting for ´Lío´…” referring to Messi and the team friendly match that was announced despite a BDS campaign against it and later cancelled.

The message continued: “but not so much Lío… “ which in Spanish means “troubles,” referring to the final cancellation three days before the match that led to global criticism by Jewish groups and a disciplinary proceeding against the president of the Palestinian soccer governing body.

Continuing with the word games the embassy said that Israel waited in vain for Messi, but that “… we are a people used to waiting for the… Messiah.”

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The video shows embassy professionals painting their faces with blue and white for Israel but also light blue and white, the Argentina team’s colors. The video, tweeted by the embassy, shows Israeli ambassador to Buenos Aires Ilan Sztulman wearing an Argentinean team t-shirt and saying: “No doubt, we will be supporting the light blue and white.” The video shows the embassy team celebrating a Messi goal against Brazil, even though Sztulman is a native of Brazil.

The Israeli support for Argentina’s national team gained attention from major Argentinean media and was followed by another tweet just before Saturday’s  match wishing the team “success.”

But surprisingly Argentina didn’t manage to win in its first match, against Iceland and global star Messi missed a penalty kick.

Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman also used took to Twitter to discuss Argentina’s national soccer team, but with a much different message.  “In the Argentina against Iceland game we saw just how much Messi needed the warm-up game against Israel,” he tweeted, suggesting that Messi missed the penalty because of the cancellation of the match in Jerusalem.