Soccer star Lionel Messi visits Western Wall on ‘peace tour’


(JTA) — The Argentinian soccer star Lionel Messi visited the Western Wall in Jerusalem  and met with Israeli leaders.

Messi was in Israel with the Spanish soccer team Football Club Barcelona as part of the team’s “peace tour,” which included hosting skills clinics and games with Israeli and Palestinian children to promote peace.

On Sunday, the team donned yarmulkes to visit the Western Wall. In Jerusalem, they posed for a group photo with Mayor Nir Barkat and met at the President’s Residence with President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“It’s a great honor to host Barcelona in a holy city like Jerusalem, with this visit a dream come true for Israeli and Palestinian children,” Peres said. “They have two dreams: to score in Camp Nou [FC Barcelona’s soccer stadium] and peace between the two sides. Messi, Xavi, Iniesta and the rest of the players, I hope you teach us the tiki-taka style so that we learn how to score a goal for peace.”

The Barcelona team had arrived in the region on Saturday and traveled to the West Bank to meet with Palestinian leaders and children.

One month ago, Messi sent a message to the Argentinian Maccabiah team. In 2011, he participated in a campaign for justice and memory of the victims of the 1994 AMIA Jewish center bombing.

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