Pope Francis Plans Israel-Palestine Soccer Match to Promote Peace
Pope Francis announced that a soccer game will take place on September 1st in the Olympic Stadium in Rome in hopes of raising the prospects for peace between the Israelis and Palestinians, the JTA reports.
The Pope called fellow Argentines, Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi, asking them to participate in the “match for the peace." Maradona is a soccer legend, and Messi is arguably the world’s number one player.
As Sports Illustrated reported, Maradona wrote on his Facebook page, "It is an honour to be invited by Pope #Francis, to participate in the Interreligious Match for Peace, on September 1st, at the Olimpic Stadium of Rome.”
Israeli star Yossi Benayoun, along with players from Russia, Cameroon, Italy, France, and Brazil, reportedly will also participate in the exhibition.
"The match is being sponsored by the Pupi Foundation and the Pontifical Academy for Social Science."
In June, Pope Francis hosted former Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for an interfaith prayer summit at the Vatican. The summit was perceived as a politically charged gathering that appeared to disburse mutually culpable blame on both parties for the lack of peace between the two sides.
As Israel and Muslim Brotherhood terror group Hamas continue to battle, Pope Francis has noticeably refused to place blame on either entity.