Israel Angry over Argentina’s Cancellation of Football Match
Many Israelis were angry Wednesday after Argentina suddenly cancelled plans to send players to a sporting event.
The Israeli national football team and Argentina's team were to have played Saturday night in Jerusalem. The football match was to take place just days before the start of World Cup championship action in Russia.
The cancellation followed protests in support of Palestinian rights. Some Israeli officials accused Argentina's Lionel Messi and other players of giving in to terrorism.
In the United States, European football is called soccer.
Argentina is one of the most popular national teams among Israelis. Many people were hoping to see Messi, one of the game's stars, in person.
But after intense Palestinian protests, Argentina announced its team would not attend the event.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Argentine President Mauricio Macri and urged him to intervene. But his efforts were unsuccessful.
Late Wednesday, Israel's Sports Ministry said that a "negotiation" about the match was underway, but gave no other details.
Israeli defense minister Avigdor Lieberman said, "It's unfortunate the soccer knights of Argentina did not withstand the pressure of the Israeli-hating inciters." He added that their "only goal is to harm our basic right to self-defense and bring about the destruction of Israel."
Jibril Rajoub leads the Palestinian football association. He had called on Arabs to burn Lionel Messi pictures and Messi T-shirts if he played the match. Rajoub has long attempted to get FIFA, football's world governing body, and the International Olympic Committee to take action against Israel.
Rajoub believes Israel should be punished for restricting movement of Palestinian players, and for forming teams in Jewish West Bank settlements.
He had also objected to having the match played in Jerusalem. Palestinians claim the eastern part of the city as their capital.
Following the move, Rajoub spoke with reporters in Ramallah. He had a picture of him with Messi and a sign reading: "From Palestine, thank you Messi."
Rajoub had accused Israel of playing politics with the game by moving it from the port of Haifa to Jerusalem. He said, "They tried to use sport as a tool for political ends, and for this I think, they failed."
But Israel's sports minister, Miri Regev said, the game was moved for safety reasons. Regev claimed that "terrorist" groups had made threats against Argentina's players and their families. She said the groups sent them images of dead children, but gave no further evidence.
The Argentinean move raised fears that it could lead to future boycotts of Jerusalem. The fears come as Israel is preparing to host the Eurovision song competition next year.
Israeli organizers noted an offer to have the game played in Barcelona instead. But it is not likely that will happen.
Argentina begins its first World Cup game in Russia against Iceland on June 16. The team then plays Croatia on June 21 and Nigeria on June 26.
I'm Jonathan Evans.
1.take place 发生；举行
The meeting will take place as planned.
2.national teams 国家队
They're all very strong national teams and dangerous opponents.
3.sporting event 体育盛事
The Olympics is the biggest sporting event in the world.
4.in person 亲自；当面
You must collect the mail in person and take along some form of identification.
5.The cancellation followed protests in support of Palestinian rights.
in support of 支持；拥护
They are raising a fund in support of this good cause.
We must produce evidence in support of our theory.
6.Rajoub has long attempted to get FIFA, football's world governing body, and the International Olympic Committee to take action against Israel.
take action 采取行动
We had to take action to protect the proprietary technology.
We must take action to deal with the problem before it spreads to other areas.
以色列总理内塔尼亚胡（Benjamin Netanyahu）致电阿根廷总统马克里（Mauricio Macri），敦促他进行干预，但是他的努力并未取得成效。
吉布里尔·拉杰布（Jibril Rajoub）是巴勒斯坦足协的负责人。他曾呼吁，如果梅西参赛，阿拉伯人要烧掉梅西的照片和球衣 。拉杰布一直试图说服国际足联（FIFA）以及国际奥委会（International Olympic Committee）对以色列采取行动 。
拉杰布指责以色列玩弄政治，将比赛地点从海法港改为耶路撒冷。他说：“他们想要将体育作为实现政治目的的工具 。因此，我认为他们失败了 。”
但是，以色列体育部长米莉·雷格夫（Miri Regev）表示，比赛更换场地是出于安全原因。雷格夫称，“恐怖主义”团体对阿根廷球员及其家人进行了威胁 。她说，这些团体向他们发送了死去儿童的照片，但是她没有提供更多证据 。