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Maccabi Tel Aviv before a game last month in Athens (friendlier territory).(Louisa Gouliamaki/AFP/Getty Images)

In 1969, an armed conflict broke out between Honduras and El Salvador because of a soccer match. In 2011, a soccer match between Israel and Turkey might break up because of an armed conflict.

Next week, Israel’s Maccabi Tel Aviv is scheduled to fly to Istanbul and play a local team, Besiktas, in the Europa League, one of the most prestigious international tournaments in soccer. The recent tensions between the two countries, however, will take a toll on the team: Three members of Maccabi’s squad are soldiers in active military duty, and are forbidden (Hebrew-only) by the Israel Defense Forces, given the delicate situation with Turkey, from flying to what might soon become enemy territory.

And you thought football was warlike.

Earlier: The Turkish Rivalry Heats Up





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