Israeli Government Wishes Saudi Soccer Team Good Luck at World Cup

World Cup

The Israeli Foreign Ministry’s official Arabic Twitter account released a June 14 tweet wishing the Saudi Arabian soccer team good luck for its upcoming game against Russia in the World Cup games, Haaretz reported Thursday.

In Arabic, the foreign minister’s office wrote, “The Saudi team is about to play the opening match in the World Cup against Russia after 12 years of absence. The team’s star is Mohammad Al-Sahlawi. The Saudis succeeded in reaching the round of 16 in the 1994 World Cup. Best of luck!”

The well-wishing comes on the heels of recent comments from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that relations have been improving with the Arab states.

Last week, Haaretz reported that Netanyahu told a group in Jerusalem that relations with the Saudis were “improving beyond imagination” adding that “this will ultimately help achieve peace without Palestinians neighbors.”

The tweet to the Saudi soccer team was unprecedented.

Russia hosts the 2018 competition and opens the event with the home team playing against Saudi Arabia at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on Thursday, June 14. The game is a meeting between the two lowest-ranked teams in the tournament. The Saudis were smashed 5-0 by the Russians.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.