ISRAELI NATIONAL TEAM PLAYERS CALL FOR THE RETURN OF THE ABDUCTEES/F&F BRANDVERTISING
Nerves are tense, patience is short, and the public feels comfortable attacking anyone who does not express enough identification to their liking. Robbie Cain and Maccabi Haifa's foreigners are just an example – they all become a means of venting rage. This is understandable, but before criticizing the captain of the Carmel Greens, it is much more important to focus on who plays a role in the Israeli national team and causes significant and real damage. Simply put, as long as Elie Dassa is the national captain, all the actions of the FA in the field of public relations feel hypocritical, and no moving video will hide the disgrace.
Eli Dassa is currently employed by the regime, which takes an active and central part in the war against the State of Israel. That's a fact.
The regime of dictator Vladimir Putin openly and blatantly supports Hamas and maintains extensive economic, political, and military ties with the Iranian regime. A thick book will not be enough to describe all the actions he has taken against Israel in these weeks, and in general. This book, if and when it is written, should begin with a quote from Khaled Mashaal, who claimed in an interview: "Russia profited from our attack because we diverted the attention of the Americans from them and from Ukraine. The Russians told us they would study the October 7 offensive in their military academies."
The Russians happily hosted Hamas delegations in the Kremlin, both before and after October 7. They are closely coordinated, and the Russian regime cooperates extensively with the Iranian regime, which operates Hamas. According to reports, the Russian army participated in training Hamas terrorists. Russia's ambassador to the UN claimed: "Israel has no right to self-defense because it is an occupying power." Putin himself frequently speaks of "the catastrophe of the people of Gaza," and attributed Hamas' murderous terrorist attack to what he called "the weakness of the United States." The regime's propaganda channels spread hatred towards Israel and anti-Semitism on a daily basis. Russia is also responsible for spreading fake and conspiracy theories on social networks, and there have even been reports that the Russian regime is behind marking the businesses of French Jews by painting a Star of David on the walls as a means of spreading division and hatred. In practice, Russia is acting as an enemy state these days.
Found in the club indirectly against Israel/official website, from Instagram
Who is Dynamo Moscow, in whose ranks plays Elie Dessa? The club belongs to VTB Bank, which took over in 2009. This bank is state-owned, which means that it is an economic arm of the Russian regime. The initials mean: Foreign Trade Bank, and the meaning is perfectly clear. Dynamo Moscow is an integral part of the regime concern. For a considerable period of time, Boris Rotenberg served as chairman of the club. Rotenberg is an oligarch very close to Putin, since their friendship dates back to their joint training in a judo class in their youth. On 24 February 2022, following the Russian army's invasion of Ukraine, the bank transferred control of the club to Dynamo, so that international sanctions would not be imposed on the team immediately. De facto, the bank continues to manage the club.
Dynamo Moscow is therefore most closely linked to the Putinist regime. In principle, there is currently no fundamental difference between working in a company owned by the Russian regime and working in a company owned by the Iranian regime. Suppose, for the sake of discussion, that an Israeli footballer would be playing for an Iranian team these days at the invitation of Ayatollah Khamenei's associates. Was he worthy of wearing the captain's armband? This is also the answer for a player who wears the uniform of a team that serves Putin's interests.
Moreover, Israeli society is looking for solidarity around the world after the tragedy we experienced on October 7, and the same applies to football. We are excited by the support from the clubs in Germany. We are outraged at FIFA, UEFA, Premier League clubs, and anyone who refuses, for political and economic reasons, to condemn terrorism and identify with the Israeli victims. But those who rightly demand solidarity and empathy must also know how to show solidarity and empathy for victims of terrorism elsewhere on the globe.
This is not the place to discuss the Israeli government's response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the war crimes committed by Putin's regime. The political situation is very delicate, and at least until October 7, Israel tried to walk between the drops for known reasons. We will focus on football, and this is a meaningful arena where it is easy to express solidarity - as we want it to happen towards us.
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After the Russian regime went to war against the Ukrainian people, Russian sports were boycotted by the international community. Russian clubs were suspended by FIFA and UEFA, and many European players employed at Russian clubs left them. Those who did not would face sanctions from their associations. For that matter, Poland announced that footballers who chose to continue playing in Russia would no longer be able to represent the national team, and this was the fate of Matzei Ribus. The veteran defender, who has worn the Polish uniform 66 times and was part of the squad for Euro 2012, the 2018 World Cup and Euro 2020, was permanently banned because he did not leave Lokomotiv Moscow in February 2022.
For Ribus, this was not an easy dilemma on a personal level, because he spent most of his career in the Russian league, and it is not trivial (even if necessary) to leave everything because of a dictator who went to war. By contrast, it's a million times easier not to go to Russia after the war has started — and no players from Western countries have done so.
Dassa signed for Dynamo Moscow in September 2022, six months after the start of the atrocities in Ukraine, when all the evidence of war crimes was known, including mass massacres of civilians in Bucha and other cities, indiscriminate bombings of residential neighborhoods, train stations and hospitals – and the list goes on. The information was accessible, the moral significance is clear, but the player chose to accept the financial offer from a club directly linked to the Russian regime. The move was carried out, by the way, immediately after the cancellation of the signing of Eden Kartsev, and the sequence of events raises suspicions that Dynamo received an order from above to sign an Israeli player for political purposes - although there is no specific proof of this.
Dassa's economic, professional and moral considerations remain with him. Should the Israeli FA implement the Polish model and not summon players from the Russian league to the national team at all? This is a complex issue, and plausible arguments can be made in both directions, but one thing is absolutely certain - such a player cannot be a captain. A person who officially represents our country cannot be identified with the regime that commits war crimes. Anyone who receives a salary from Russia's state bank while Putin's forces send Iranian-made suicide correspondents to blow up on Kyiv cannot be the captain of the Israeli national team.
How can he withstand the Ukrainians' questions?/Udi Zitiat
The problem becomes even more acute in light of the realistic possibility of a meeting between Israel and Ukraine in the final of the Nations League play-offs for qualifying for Euro 2024, in March. It is important to note that Ukraine's captain, Arsenal star Oleksandr Zinchenko, expressed unconditional support for Israel after the Hamas terrorist attack on October 7. "I stand with Israel," he wrote on Instagram, even though he knew he would face a flood of hostile comments — and was eventually forced to remove the post under pressure from the club's management. On the other hand, the captain of the Israeli national team represents a Russian club.
How can Zinchenko shake the hand of the captain of Israel before the opening whistle, who receives his money from the regime that murders his own people? What will the Ukrainians ask Dassa at the pre-match press conference? We are marching with our eyes open to a large, shameful and completely unnecessary diplomatic incident that will cast Israel in a very negative light in the eyes of its partners in the international arena. These days, Israel claims that it is fighting radical Islamic terrorism for the sake of the entire world. Ukraine makes similar claims in its fight against the terror of the Russian regime. Both Hamas and Putin's regime are aided by massive support from Iran – and they belong to the axis of evil. It is unlikely that the captain of the Israeli national team will be identified with this axis.
Dasa's appointment as captain of the Israeli national team at the beginning of 2022 was reasonable, acceptable, appropriate and logical. There was no problem with the decision then, but circumstances changed radically after the player signed for Dynamo Moscow in September 2022, and another dramatic change occurred on October 7, 2023. In the new circumstances, there is an urgent need to make adjustments to reality. This should have been done a year ago, and at least a month ago for the 4 qualifying matches. Belatedly, it must be done now.
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