Israeli terror victims cheer for Arsenal

By Jennifer Lipman, January 27, 2011
Israeli guests at Arsenal

Israeli guests at Arsenal

Israeli victims of terror watched Arsenal earn a Carling Cup final place during a three-day London visit organised by One Family UK.

Waving team scarves and cheering loudly when Arsenal scored their three goals, the group managed to make it on camera when the BBC broadcast crowd scenes. Their itinerary also took in Buckingham Palace and a performance of The Lion King.

One of the group had been involved in the controversial clash between the Israeli navy and pro-Palestinian activists on the Gaza-bound flotilla last May.

The man, who is still serving and so cannot be named, said he had been surprised to be met with force when the Israelis boarded the Mavi Marmara. "I was not scared, I just wanted to help my friends."

He had been shocked by the global condemnation of the Israeli action. "We know what happened, we know the truth. The world wants Israel to apologise - it's ridiculous, we were defending ourselves."

The group also included soldiers wounded during the Gaza war two years ago, a woman left paralysed after being shot and another hit during a suicide bombing in a coffee shop.

Eden Dahan - whose father and sister were seriously injured when Kassam rockets from Gaza struck their home in Sderot four years ago - said the visit had been amazing.

"I'm grateful that there are people in the world who want to hear my story and want to help. It's important to tell people what's happening."

Businessman David Friedman, who helped organise the trip, said: "It's amazing for them to get away from their normal lives. Each one has their own problem but they bond together as a group and help each other out."

Last updated: 11:15am, January 27 2011