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Israeli Soldiers Barred from Turkey Match

IDF orders Maccabi Tel Aviv players not to travel to hostile land

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Maccabi Tel Aviv before a game last month in Athens (friendlier territory).(Louisa Gouliamaki/AFP/Getty Images)

In 1969, an armed conflict broke out between Honduras and El Salvador because of a soccer match. In 2011, a soccer match between Israel and Turkey might break up because of an armed conflict.

Next week, Israel’s Maccabi Tel Aviv is scheduled to fly to Istanbul and play a local team, Besiktas, in the Europa League, one of the most prestigious international tournaments in soccer. The recent tensions between the two countries, however, will take a toll on the team: Three members of Maccabi’s squad are soldiers in active military duty, and are forbidden (Hebrew-only) by the Israel Defense Forces, given the delicate situation with Turkey, from flying to what might soon become enemy territory.

And you thought football was warlike.

Earlier: The Turkish Rivalry Heats Up

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Israel should demand that the game be played on a neutral field the same way European teams justified not playing FIFA tournaments in Israel during the height of the Palesitnian suicide bombing campaign.

Well the powers that be need to defuse the situation.

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Israeli Soldiers Barred from Turkey Match

IDF orders Maccabi Tel Aviv players not to travel to hostile land

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