Israel is going crazy over its Cinderella team reaching the semi-finals in the FIFA U-20 World Cup.
While Israel is not known as a football power, there was a game in 1949 that is worth revisiting today.
Here is the report of a most intriguing game reported by the Associated Press, published in the Palestine Post, June 8, 1949:
The two enemies played a soccer game against each other at the border?
This is right after the "nakba." Lebanon was overrun with hundreds of thousands of Palestinian Arab refugees. The Arab League boycott of Palestinian Jews had been in force since 1946, and it was renewed to boycott Israeli Jews as soon as Israel declared itself a state.
If Israel's victory in 1948 was the original sin of the modern Middle East, how could the Lebanese soldiers have played this game? It seems unbelievable.
This indicates that the hate we see today towards Israel from the Lebanese and others is not normal and not natural. It is the result of decades of demonization in Arab media, and generations of incitement in Arab schools.
If armed enemies who had been shooting at each other only months beforehand could hang out and play a game, it means that the hate was not inherent in the relationship.
Today, Lebanon bans movies with an Israeli actor. Most normal Lebanese recognize that as insanity, but the hate is official.
1949 sows us that it doesn't have to be this way - and that Arab incitement to hate Israeli Jews is an artificial construct, one that requires constant refueling to maintain.
Lebanon's first international football match was in 1940, and the opponent was "Mandatory Palestine," or in Hebrew, Eretz Yisrael. It was held in Maccabiah Stadium in Tel Aviv. It appears all the Palestinian players were Jewish.