Soccer club Real Madrid honors activist Palestinian teen Ahed Tamimi


(JTA) — A popular Spanish soccer club honored activist Palestinian teen Ahed Tamimi.

Real Madrid welcomed the teen at their home stadium of Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday before they were scheduled to play a match against local club Atletico Madrid. The team presented her with a Real Madrid jersey with her first name printed on the back.

She was accompanied by her father. The visit, preceded by a visit to France, included several political events where Ahed was scheduled to speak on “the Palestinian resistance movement” and her experiences in Israeli prison.

Early in September, the Israel Security Agency, or Shin Bet, said it would prevent the Tamimi family from traveling through Israeli territory in order to go on a 20-day trip to Europe. The family would have had to travel from the West Bank through Israel in order to leave from Jordan.

French and Spanish news reports about the teen’s visit did not say how she and her father left the West Bank to make the trip.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Emanuel Nachshon criticized Ahed Tamimi’s visit in a tweet.

“The prestigious soccer club of Real Madrid embraces a terrorist inciting to hatred and violence. Shameful,” he tweeted.

Spanish Ambassador to Israel Daniel Kutner also criticized the soccer club’s reception of Ahed Tamimi.

“Ahed Tamimi is not a peaceful fighter but a defender of violence and terror. The institutions that received her and celebrated her indirectly encourage aggression and not the dialogue and understanding that we need,” he said in a tweet.

The teen was sentenced in March to eight months in prison after pleading guilty to four counts of assault, including the one in which she slapped a soldier in front of her house that was videotaped and went viral on social media. Her mother also was jailed for incitement for filming her daughter with a cellphone camera calling on her fellow Palestinians to stab Israelis, throw rocks at them and offer themselves as suicide bombers in order to “liberate Palestine” and posting it on social media.   The pair were released early, in July.

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