Shalom Life | October 17, 2015

Israeli, German Politicians to Square Off in Soccer Match Celebrating 50 Years of Diplomatic Relations

The Knesset will play a friendly against Bundestag

By: Itamar Eichner

Published: January 20th, 2015 in Sports » World

Photo: Teddy Stadium, Jerusalem


Soccer is a game in which 22 people kick a ball around for 90 minutes and Germany wins. Nonetheless, Israel and Germany's foreign ministries have agreed to hold a friendly between the Knesset and Bundestag teams to mark 50 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

The match – which joins a series of diplomatic, economic and cultural events – is expected to take place in Israel in April, shortly after the new government is sworn in.

The game was initiated by Deputy Foreign Minister Tzachi Hanegbi and Bundestag Member Thomas Feist. Hanegbi visited Berlin several months ago, where he was a guest of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the German constitutional and legislative body. Fiest suggested a friendly between the Knesset and Bundestag teams to mark the 50th anniversary of the diplomatic relationship between Israel and Germany, and Hanegbi took him up on his offer.

The Israeli Embassy in Germany made it clear that the game would take place as planned despite the early Israeli elections. The identity of the Israeli players will be determined according to the election results.

The Israeli parliament has a soccer team which is usually active once a year, when it plays against the Israeli media team (and always loses). Hanegbi has been the Knesset team's goalkeeper for 27 years now, since first being elected in 1988 and ousting former Meretz Chairman Yossi Sarid, a move which he defines as "my greatest parliamentary achievement."

A proper team will only be put together after the elections. Hanegbi, who won a high spot on the Likud's Knesset list, will continue as goalkeeper and he hopes that three of the current team members will make it into the next Knesset as well:

"Hamad Amar of Yisrael Beytenu is an excellent defender, Shimon Solomon of Yesh Atid is a wonderful player, and Eli Ben Dahan – who has a high spot on the Bayit Yehudi list – is a very good player with incredibly strong kicks. The problem with the Knesset team is that the members collapse during the warm up…"

In any event, it won't be an easy task for the Israeli players, as the Bundestag team is considered one of the best parliamentary teams in the world. "I'll settle for a 1:0 score in favor of the Germans," says Hanegbi.

Reprinted with permission from Ynet News

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