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March 31, 2022 10:29 am

NBA’s Deni Avdija Writes ‘Am Israel Chai’ on Sneakers in Solidarity With Israel After Terrorist Attacks

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

Israeli basketball player Deni Avdija. Photo: Reuters / Karolis Kavolelis.

Washington Wizards forward Deni Avdija drew in Hebrew the words “Am Yisrael Chai” (“Long Live Israel”) and Stars of David on his sneakers at a game this week to express solidarity with his home country following a series of terror attacks in Israel.

The Israeli-Serbian NBA player wore the shoes at a home game against the Orlando Magic on Wednesday night.

“My heart is with Israel. I am very sad to hear about what is happening in Israel,” Avdija told reporters, according to Israel Hayom. “There are things that are bigger than basketball and with how much I try to represent us in the NBA, it is difficult for me.”

“My friends and family are in Israel, I watch the news almost every day, I watch Israeli TV,” the second-year player continued. “My heart goes out to the families and to the people of Israel, let’s hope it ends as soon as possible. I will not get into politics, but I am sending a hug and love. It’s hard to watch.”

Last year, Avdija commemorated Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day by wearing game-day sneakers bearing the Hebrew word “Yizkor,” meaning “remember.”

Early Thursday morning, a 28-year-old Israeli Jewish man was critically wounded in a Palestinian stabbing attack that took place on a bus at the Neve Daniel junction in the West Bank, Haaretz reported. An Israeli civilian on the bus who was armed with a rifle immediately shot and killed the terrorist, who has been identified as 30-year-old Palestinian Nidal Juma’a Ja’afrad. The injured Israeli was given first aid at the scene of the crime before being transferred to Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Hospital, where he is reportedly in serious but stable condition after being stabbed with a screwdriver in the upper body.

On Tuesday night, a 27-year-old Palestinian gunman from the West Bank village of Ya’bad killed five people in Tel Aviv’s Jewish ultra-Orthodox city of Bnei Brak and Ramat Gan. He was eventually shot dead by security forces.

Two Israeli Border Police officers were killed by two Israeli Arab gunmen in the city of Hadera on Sunday. The assailants were shot dead by counter-terrorism officers who were nearby the scene of the attack, which the Islamic State has claimed responsibility for, BBC reported.

A different assailant from the Bedouin town of Hura in the Negev killed four Israelis in a stabbing and car ramming attack in the Israeli city of Beersheba on March 22.

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