God bless you for tracking with us here in Israel. Today, there were two major stories—one of a hero, and one of cowardice. Let's start with the heroic.
Israeli Soccer Player Detained by Police in Turkey for Supporting Hostages
Sagiv Yehezkel, an Israeli soccer player who plays for Turkey’s Antalyaspor club, was taken into police custody in Turkey after he displayed a message calling for the release of the hostages in Gaza. Sunday marked the 100th day that the hostages taken on October 7 have been held captive in Gaza.
After scoring a goal, Yehezkel looked into the camera and pointed to a bandage on his hands—and the words “100 days” next to a Star of David and the date October 7.
Turkish authorities opened an investigation into Yehezkel for “publicly inciting the public to hatred and hostility.”
PHOTO CREDIT: The tribute to the hostages held in Gaza by Israeli soccer play, Sagiv Yehezkel, on Monday. Credit: Antalyaspor Twitter account
Yehezkel appeared before a judge Monday, where he reportedly issued a statement through an interpreter, saying "I did not take any step to provoke or inflame anyone. I am not a person who supports the war. At the end of the day, there are Israelis being held hostage in Gaza. "I believe that the hundred-day period should end now. I want the war to end. That's why I made the gesture."
No one should be surprised. While Erdoğan has been democratically ;-) elected, there are very few democratic freedoms. Freedom of speech, something we hold dear in the US and in Israel, is not something the Turkish people can enjoy, and certainly not an Israeli working in the country, even if a soccer stat. But to jail someone for simply showing support for 136 hostages is perverse.
Israel and Turkey have had a tumultuous relationship over the years, but diplomacy has been improving over the last couple of years. Israel was among the first (if not the first!) to respond after the massive earthquake in Turkey last year.
Yehezkel returned to Israel late Monday to a hero's welcome, arriving on a private jet from Turkey. I'm sure some generous person gladly provided the jet. He will be considered a hero here in Israel.
A second Israeli soccer player, Eden Kartsev, has also been detained by Turkish authorities for showing solidarity with the hostages. He has been released and is headed home to Israel.
Terrorists Kill 1, Injure 17 in Central Israel
We lived with our kids for 11 years in the beautiful city of Ra'anana just north of Tel Aviv. It's a great place to raise kids. A lot of English speakers live there from South Africa and Great Britain. I don't ever remember a serious terror attack taking place in Ra’anana.
Two West Bank Palestinian men terrorized the central Israeli city of Ra’anana, killing at least one person and injuring 17 others. The terrorists stole three vehicles, rammed them into people on the streets, and then jumped out and stabbed multiple victims.
The attack came right as school was letting out for the day. At least seven children and teenagers were injured in the attack. The perpetrators were working in Israel illegally and had been previously blacklisted by Shin Bet (Israel’s FBI).
Photo credit: Terror attack in Ra'anana on January 15, 2024 (Magen David Adom)
Things continue to be difficult here, but we are not going anywhere. We love that you are here with us. God bless you all.