Arab brothers playing football for Palestine and Israel make history

i24NEWS

3 min read
Palestinian defender Abdallah Jaber (R) and Australian striker Jamie Maclaren during an Asian Cup Group B soccer match between Australia and Palestine at Rashid Stadium in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, January 11, 2018.
AP / Nariman El-Mofty ©Palestinian defender Abdallah Jaber (R) and Australian striker Jamie Maclaren during an Asian Cup Group B soccer match between Australia and Palestine at Rashid Stadium in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, January 11, 2018.

Abdallah and Mahmour Jaber from Israeli-Arab town of Taybeh play for rivaling teams

Former captain of the Palestine’s national team Abdallah Jaber and his younger brother Mahmud Jaber of Maccabi Haifa are about to make history as Mahmud prepares to make his debut for Israel. 

The two brothers grew up in a Muslim family in the Arab town of Taybeh in Israel. Football journalist Uri Levy told i24NEWS about their unique story. 

“The older brother was a symbol and a hero for many Palestinians as the national team captain for many years. The younger brother got his first call for the Israel’s national team that is getting him to play Iceland this Wednesday,” said Levy.

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He noted that football fans know other examples of brothers playing for rivaling teams, like Kevin-Prince Boateng and Jerome Boateng who played for Ghana and Germany, respectively at the 2014 World Cup. Yet the Jaber brother’s story is a much needed sign that “today it is ok to be one family with two stories” in the Middle East. 

Maccabi Haifa’s Mahmoud Jaber is 23 years old, he is finishing his breakthrough season with a debut for Israel’s national team that is set to play against Iceland on June 2. His 29-year-old brother Abdallah was the youngest Palestinian player to collect 35 international caps. In 2020 he returned to the Israeli Premier League. 

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