Polish, Israeli soccer teams defy league, hold moment of silence for hostages

The European sporting body had also refused to allow the Israelis to warm up with shirts displaying photos of those kidnapped by Hamas.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

In a gesture of solidarity, the Polish Under-21 soccer team joined their Israeli counterparts Friday in defying a ban on holding a moment of silence for the 240 hostages kidnapped and 1,200 people massacred by Hamas terrorists six weeks ago during their invasion of Israel.

After the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), the European governing body of the sport, had denied the Israelis’ request to have this gesture of respect and mourning, the players took matters in to their own hands.

In a pre-coordinated move, when the whistle blew to start the match, none of the young men on the field moved a muscle for a full minute of playing time.

The small crowd in the Lodz stadium went silent as well.

UEFA had previously prohibited the Israeli team Thursday from wearing shirts displaying photos of those kidnapped by Hamas during their final warm-up for the game.

Thousands of fans thanked the Polish players on social media for their gesture.

“Class from the players,” wrote one. “Regardless of your opinion on the overall conflict, a moment of silence for hundreds of civilians murdered in their home or in a music festival shouldn’t be a controversial thing.”

Both the Israeli junior and senior teams are currently playing all their matches abroad, including what are supposed to be their “home” games, due to the war that Israel declared on Hamas following the terrorists’ October 7 slaughter of men, women, children and infants.

For example, Maccabi Haifa and Maccabi Tel Aviv will be playing their next “home” matches in November in Serbia, behind closed doors. The seniors are slightly behind schedule as they had postponed all their games during the first month of the war.

The junior Israelis eventually lost 2-1 in the Friday night game, putting them at the bottom of their group D, with no points after two games in the qualifiers for the U-21 Euro 2025 championships.