After fears that he may be arrested upon his arrival at Ben-Gurion Airport were dispelled on Sunday, Ben Sahar landed in Israel on Monday and spoke of his frustration with the IDF.
The 20-year-old has yet to begin his army service and he considered skipping Saturday's 2010 World Cup qualifier against Moldova at National Stadium in Ramat Gan over worries that he may be detained by the IDF following a disagreement regarding his service.
"I was concerned about coming to Israel because anything can happen in this country," Sahar said on Monday. "The easiest thing is to blame me, but the situation is different to what it seems to people on the outside. Everyone thinks I am trying to evade my army service, but that is simply not true.
"Like everyone else, I think that serving in the army is really important. I was supposed to enlist in May or June, but I was helping De Graafschap fight relegation in the Dutch league. In the following weeks I was with the national team, and I could not come on June 22 because I signed with Espanyol.
"Now that I am signed to a four-year contract, I can promise I will enroll in the army in May and do whatever I'm supposed to do."
Israel, which visits Switzerland in its final qualifier next Wednesday, began its preparations for the match against Moldova on Monday. The national team needs to win both its remaining matches and hope other results go its way in Group 2 to reach next summer's World Cup in South Africa.
If Greece and Latvia play to a draw in Athens over the weekend and Israel wins both remaining contests, it would qualify for a playoff with second place in the group.
"We still have a small chance of qualifying and I hope we can do it," Sahar said. "We need to give our all against Moldova and hope other results work in our favor."