Lionel Messi in Tel Aviv, Nov. 18, 2019. (Jacob Israel) Jacob Israe

The Argentina-Uruguay football match in Israel was much more than a soccer game.

By Jacob Israel, United with Israel

While Israel won’t ever forget the “Rio de La Plata classic” in Tel Aviv, the Argentina-Uruguay friendly was much more than a football match. It was a match for peace, a match for the children, and most of all a victory over the forces of hatred.

During a press conference after the match, a United with Israel reporter asked Argentine coach Leonel Scaloni about his visit to Israel. The Argentine coach thanked the organizers, said he was delighted to be in Israel and expressed his joy experiencing a city as beautiful as Tel Aviv.

The appearance in the Jewish state of captains Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, along with their teammates, represented something far greater than sports or entertainment, striking a blow to those who seek to bring Israel down, from the anti-Israel boycotters of the BDS movement to terror groups like Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

United with Israel supporters did their part thwarting BDS efforts to keep the Messi from visiting, joining a campaign to urge the teams from Argentina and Uruguay not to give in to boycott efforts.

In 2018, a vicious boycott campaign spearheaded by Palestinian official Jibril Rajoub bullied Messi into cancelling a match between Argentina and Israel.

Argentina vs. Uruguay in Tel Aviv, Nov. 18, 2019. (Jacob Israel)

During the match on Monday, the teams from Argentina and Uruguay, led by Messi and Suarez, respectively, entered the field accompanied by Jewish, Christian and Muslim children, representing the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation, which teaches kids from different backgrounds to respect one another through mixed soccer teams from Arab and Jewish Israeli schools.

Defying boycott calls and the threat of rocket fire, Messi and Suarez showed up to play, serving up to the Israeli crowd an exciting match with a distinctly South American flavor.

The scene at Tel Aviv Bloomfield Stadium on Monday was spectacular, with all  29,000 seats filled.

The Uruguay side consisted of Campaña, Cáceres, Coates, Godín, Viña, Torreira, Vecino, Valverde, Brian Lozano, Suárez and Cavani.

The Argentina side consisted of Andrada, Saravia, Otamendi, Pezzella, Tagliafico, Paredes, De Paul, Acuña, Dybala, Messi and Agüero.

The game ended in a 2-2 draw with big Names Cavani, Suarez, Messi and Aguero all scoring.

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