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February 22, 2013 1:41 am

FC Barcelona Seeks Israeli-Palestinian Dialogue Through Soccer

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FC Barcelona player Lionel Messi, who will arrive with his team to Israel in July to play against an Israeli team. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Israeli President Shimon Peres met Thursday evening with the president of FC Barcelona, one of Spain’s biggest soccer clubs, at the Kfar Maccabiah Hotel in Ramat Gan to discuss a new project aimed at restoring piece between Israelis and Palestinians through sport.

The talk took place as FC Barcelona soccer players, including star player Lionel Messi, prepare to play an exhibition game against an Israeli team composed of both Jewish and Muslim players on July 31, a game that organizers hope will be broadcast worldwide.

“Barca wants to make a modest contribution to build bridges of understanding and harmony between the Israeli and Palestinian people through sports and education,” FC Barcelona President Sandro Rosell said in a statement Wednesday, according to Yedioth Ahronoth.

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“This is the president’s vision, which the Peres Center for Peace is based on, and such a move could promote peace,” an aide to Peres said.

During the Thursday meeting, Peres will receive a Barca shirt with the Spanish caption “Peres No. 1.”

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