FA hit with resignation of Rabbi in protest against their refusal to light up Wembley in Israel colours

FA Wembley

A Rabbi has quit the Football Association in protest following Hamas attacks on Israel

Jack Otway

By Jack Otway

Published: 13/10/2023

- 11:14

Updated: 13/10/2023

- 11:46

The Wembley arch won't be illuminated in the colours of the Israeli flag for tonight's friendly between England and Australia at Wembley

Alex Goldberg, chair of the Football Association's Faith in Football group, has resigned from his role in protest.

The FA have opted against illuminating the Wembley arch in Israeli colours following attacks by terrorist group Hamas over the weekend.

Instead, there will be a period of silence before the match, with players to wear black armbands as well.

Per Jewish News, Goldberg wrote an impassioned letter to FA chief Mark Bullingham outlining his decision.

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He said he was 'profoundly disappointed in the FA’s decision not to have a specific tribute during the upcoming matches against Australia and Italy at Wembley Stadium, to the victims of the worst single atrocity committed against Jewish targets since the Shoah.'

Shoah refers to the Holocaust when over six million Jewish people were murdered by the Nazis.

Goldberg, who had worked with the FA for 16 years, also said it was 'imperative' that the association's reactions are 'unequivocal in their support for the victims of such atrocities.'

“Your formula looks like a form of moral equivalence, which is just not appropriate this week," he said.

"The decision not to light up the [Wembley] arch has been received badly tonight within the community, where attacks on Jews in England have already gone up three-fold.

"Many see the statement — only to permit flags and representations of the competing nations — as eradicating Jewish symbols and it has compounded grievances with the gravity of the recent events — but also inadvertently neglects the security and emotional well-being of Jewish fans who may be in attendance."

Goldberg said he was writing 'as a rabbi' and a 'father of children living in Israel'.

He states the FA's decision not to mark the murders of Israeli people had been made 'in light of the global solidarity shown in response to the tragic murder of 1,000 civilians in Israel, encompassing all ages and walks of life —including 17 British citizens — that saw Downing Street, the Eiffel Tower and Empire State Building lit up in blue and white.'

He revealed he was cutting ties with the FA.

But he also made it clear he would continue to service the football family, through the Premier League and Football League clubs that we currently support at an elite level and the grassroots game as Faith in Football'.

Goldberg told the publication he was leaving with 'huge regret in my heart'.

He also vowed to continue his work with regards to 'creating programmes for schools, bringing faith communities into the football family and developing frameworks to advise county FA’s leagues and clubs on best practice'.

Rabbi Goldberg reacted to the news players will wear black armbands by saying: "Planned gestures of wearing black armbands and observing a moment of silence are respectful.

"However, they may not fully convey the depth of solidarity and support necessary for the communities affected, both directly and indirectly, by these atrocious acts of violence, nor help give reassurance to Jews being attacked in this country now."

He has called on the FA to reconsider their stance.

And he was also 'disappointed' after not being consulted on a planned 'downsizing' of a Chanukah party due to take place in Wembley.


Israel attacks

Israel was attacked by Hamas terrorists over the weekend


A copy of his letter has reportedly been sent to sport and culture secretary Lucy Frazer.

England and Australia are meeting for the first time since 2016.

That year, goals from Marcus Rashford and Wayne Rooney gave the Three Lions a 2-1 win.

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