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Lionel Messi. Exhibition game in Israel Photo: AP
Lionel Messi. Exhibition game in Israel Photo: AP

Messi to promote peace in Israel

FC Barcelona footballers to play against Jewish-Muslim team on July 31 as part of campaign advancing peace between Israel, Palestinians through sports and education

Mickey Schwartz
Published: 02.21.13, 15:17 / Israel Culture

VIDEO - Israelis' favorite soccer team is on its way to the Holy Land.


President Shimon Peres will meet Thursday evening with FC Barcelona President Sandro Rosell at the Kfar Maccabiah Hotel in Ramat Gan. At the end of the meeting, the two officials are expected to announce a unique project aimed at promoting peace between Israel and the Palestinians through sports.


Video courtesy of


As part of the project, Barca will arrive in Israel on July 31 for an exhibition game against a mixed team of Jewish and Arab players.


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The Catalan soccer team is expected to arrive in Israel for just one day with all its players, including its biggest star – Lionel Messi.


The meeting's organizers are hoping that the match will be broadcast live all over the world.

ליונל מסי וסנדרו רוסיי. בקיץ הם בישראל (צילום מסך: האתר הרשמי של ברצלונה)

Lionel Messi and Sandro Rosell. Coming to Israel this summer (Screenshot: FC Barcelona's official website)

שחקני ברצלונה חוגגים. בקיץ הם באצטדיון רמת גן (צילום: AP)

Barca players (Photo: AP)


During the meeting between Peres and Rossell, the president is expected to receive a Barca shirt with the caption "Peres No. 1" in Spanish.


Rosell, who is visiting Israel and the Palestinian Authority for the first time with FC Barcelona Vice President Javier Faus, issued the following statement on Wednesday:

"Barca wants to make a modest contribution to build bridges of understanding and harmony between the Israeli and Palestinian people through sports and education."


An aide to Peres said, "This is the president's vision, which the Peres Center for Peace is based on, and such a move could promote peace."



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