Israeli-Palestinian team set to play 'Match for Peace'

Match will be missing some of Israel's biggest soccer names, as many teams declined to release their players for the match.

isr-pal soccer 88 (photo credit: Allon Sinai)
isr-pal soccer 88
(photo credit: Allon Sinai)
The Match for Peace will be held for a second year Wednesday night at the Seville Olympic Stadium in Spain. Israeli and Palestinian soccer players will come together as a Peace Team to play against a team of Andalucian soccer stars from the Spanish Premier League. The event, which is organized by the Peres Center for Peace, will be hosted by the Junta de Andaluc a. Its aim is to send the international community a positive message of Palestinian-Israeli cooperation, highlighting the importance of continued efforts to build peace between the sides. "I'm very happy to be a part of this match," said coach Avraham Grant, who will guide the Israeli-Palestinian side together with Palestinian coach Gamal Hadyda and Israel's Under-21 coach Guy Levy. "I believe that people on both sides would like to play sports more than anything else and if we can contribute to this cause, we are happy to do so." Dignitaries, royal representatives and political leaders will come to show their support, including former prime minister Shimon Peres and Palestinian Authority official Jibril Rajub. Israeli internationals Dudu Awat and Abbas Suan will be two of the bigger names on the Israeli-Palestinian side, with Real Madrid players Sergio Ramos and Antonio Reyes two of the stars on the Andalucian side. "This initiative of the Andalucian regional government has shown us that there is a real willingness to cooperate with the Middle Eastern organizations that work for Israeli-Palestinian peace and understanding," Peres Center sports unit manager Gal Peleg said. "Last year we held a similar match in Barcelona that conveyed a positive message through soccer. We hope to turn these peace matches into a tradition and spread the message of the Peres Center with the help of Israeli and Palestinian soccer stars." Israeli and Palestinian children who have been playing with each over in the last three years in the Peres Center twinned soccer schools project will travel to Seville with the players and will be on hand to watch the exhibition match. The Match for Peace will be missing some of Israel's biggest soccer names, after many Premier League teams declined to release their players for the match. The team will also be without English Premier League players Yossi Benayoun, Tal Ben Haim and Idan Tal, who are playing in the holiday fixtures in England. On TV: Match for Peace (live at 8:40 p.m. on Channel 10).