"I am excited to be welcoming one of the best teams in the world," Peres said. "I am convinced that sport is a way to lift barriers. For many kids in Israel and in the Palestinian Authority it's a dream come true to meet stars like Messi, Iniesta and Neymar, and even play with them.
"The game will reflect principles of peace, moderation and curiosity." The President's Residence jokingly remarked that Peres intends to spend his weekend practicing to prepare for Messi's kick off.
The team will be accompanied by a large delegation of 300 guests and fans who follow the players around the world. They will visit the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, the Western Wall and the Badoura Stadium near Hebron. They will possibly also meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
The main event will be watched by an audience of 14,000 teens – guests of the Education Ministry which is launching a program aimed at promoting tolerance and acceptance in schools throughout the country.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will not attend the game so as not to complicate security procedures. He will instead attend a team practice at the Maccabiah village together with his wife Sara. The couple has invited teens suffering from cancer to the meet.
Barca's trip to Israel was produced by Comtec.
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