Algeria has reportedly called off a friendly football match with Ghana because the team has an Israeli coach, Avram Grant.
According to the report on pulse.com.gh, the Algerian team dropped out of the match to ensure that Avram Grant did not enter the country.
Algerian journalist Ayman Gada wrote on Facebook that “the Algerian national team canceled the friendly match with Ghana because it refused to host Ghana’s Israeli coach, Avraham (sic) Grant.”
Grant, who formerly managed Chelsea, Portsmouth and West Ham in the English Premier League, has been in Ghana for the past two years. He was the coach of the Israeli national team from 2002 to 2006.
He was born Avraham Granat in Petah Tikva, Israel to a Polish-Jewish father and Iraqi-Jewish mother. In 2008 Chelsea Football Club announced that Grant had received anti-Semitic death threats from unknown sources. One of the packages sent to Grant’s home was said to have contained a white powder that, after investigation, proved to be harmless.
Like many Arab countries, Algeria does not have diplomatic relations with Israel. Additionally, a wave a pro-Palestinian sentiment has engulfed the country in recent months, including a number of solidarity marches for the Palestinians.
Algeria has long been a supporter of the Palestinian cause, and some Palestinians view Algeria’s struggle for independence from France as a model for their own struggle.
Algeria used to have more than 100,000 Jews, but the vast majority of them left after the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 and during the country’s war of independence against France.
Algeria has a mixed attitude toward Jews. In 2014 the country announced it would reopen synagogues that had been closed since the 1990s. However in 2015 Algerian Islamists called for attacks on Jews and later that year a video surfaced of Algerian troops marching to chants about murdering Jews.