Israeli footballer for Antalyaspor arrested in Turkiye after dedicating goal to 7 Oct. hostages

Turkish authorities are investigating an Israeli professional footballer who plays for Antalyaspor after he showed solidarity with Israel during a Turkish Super Lig match on Sunday.

Antalyaspor winger Sagiv Jehezkel celebrated scoring against Trabzonspor by showing cameras his bandaged wrist, which had “100 days” a small Star of David, and “7.10” written on it.

Jehezkel was detained by police as he was preparing to leave Turkiye on Sunday night, after the game, according to local media reports.

Turkish Justice Minister Yilmaz Tunc said on Sunday that public prosecutors have launched an investigation into Jehezkel for “inciting the public to hatred and hostility.”

The 28-year-old footballer, who is also a member of the Israel national team, joined Antalyaspor in September on a three year contract. The club has said that he has been suspended from the team following his actions and may even have his contract terminated.

A statement released by Antalyaspor on X said that Jehezkel had “acted against the national values ​​of our country” and would be excluded from the team. “Our Board of Directors will never allow behaviour against the sensitivities of our country, even if it results in a championship or a cup”.

The club’s social media had also deleted Jehezkel’s goal, claiming they were not initially aware of what he had displayed on his wrist.

Sunday’s game in Antalya took place on the 100th day since Hamas’ barbaric attack in Israel on 7 October, which left over 1,200 people killed and thousands more injured. An estimated 240 people were taken captive, among them elderly, women and infants.

Hamas released 105 of the hostages during a ceasefire at the end of November. The terror group still holds 132 hostages, though some of these may already be dead.

Israelis and its global diaspora held events around the world on Sunday, 14 January, including in London’s Trafalgar Square, to show solidarity with families impacted by the 7 October attacks. The events were used to remind the world the hostages have been held for “100 days” and call for their release.

Turkiye’s government does not regard Hamas as a terror group and the Turkish population, including football fans, have shown huge displays of support for Palestinians in Gaza, including displaying Palestinian flags and solidarity banners at football stadiums.

At least 30,000 Palestinians have died since Israel’s Gaza onslaught. The 2.2 million population, who are crammed into a thin strip of land that is just 28 miles long, have been subjected to carpet bombing, while also being deprived of fuel, food, medicine and other vital supplies following a massive military response by Israel against Hamas.