Hadash lawmakers eulogized Argentine soccer legend Diego Maradona following his death on Wednesday, November 25, calling him a “true friend of the Palestinian people.”
Maradona visited Israel at least twice, winning matches for the Argentine national team over Israel in Ramat Gan in 1986 and again in1994, when he met Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Maradona, 60, was a hero to many in Israel, Palestine and across the world for his flashes of brilliance on the soccer pitch; he was also an outspoken supporter of Palestinian rights.
Joint List MK Youssef Jabareen (Hadash) made a point of highlighting Maradona’s commitment to the Palestinian cause. He “was not only a great footballer, but a fighter for justice with all his heart, and a true friend of the Palestinian people and of leftist forces in Latin America. He will be missed by us all. May his memory be a blessing,” Jabareen said.
Maradona met Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Russia in 2018 and told Abu Mazen, “In my heart, I’m Palestinian.” In an Instagram post sharing a photo of the two hugging, Maradona wrote in Spanish, “This man wants peace in Palestine. Mr. President Abbas, you have a full-fledged country.”
Maradona was vocal in his support for the Palestinian cause in the past, and urged the speedy establishment of a Palestinian state. “I am the number one fan of the Palestinian people,” he said in 2012. “I respect them and sympathize with them.” During the Israeli war on Gaza in the summer of 2014, Maradona expressed his outrage. “What Israel is doing to the Palestinians is shameful,” he said in a statement.