Hours after being freed from Turkish arrest, Culture and Sports Minister Miki Zohar announced this evening (Monday) that Israeli soccer player Sagiv Yehezkel landed in Israel with his family.
Zohar said in a statement that he “thanks all the parties who worked the whole night and morning with dedication and responsibility to solve the issue including Israel Football Association Chairman Shino Zuaretz, Foreign Ministry personnel, the Shin Bet, and the Mossad.”
The story began when Sagiv Yehezkel, who plays for the Turkish soccer team Anatalyaspor, scored a goal during the game and dedicated it to the hostages in Gaza, lifting his hand – which had a band tied to it saying “kidnapped 7.10.” In response, the team president decided that “the contract with Sagiv Yehezkel will be cancelled.”
A few hours after the game, the Turkish group announced its decision to suspend him from all activity due to what it claimed was an attack on “Turkey’s national values,” followed by the team president’s announcement, sating that “our national values are above all. It doesn’t matter what a soccer player brings to us, we will end his contract and break with him.”
A few hours later, Yehezkel was arrested in his home by three police officers and taken for interrogation on “suspicion of inciting the Turkish public and supporting Israeli actions on 7/10.” Only after efforts by the Foreign Ministry and other diplomatic officials was Yehezkel released. He then left Turkey en route to the country.