By José Alberto Gaytán García*
Dear readers, the title of this article has nothing to do with a World Cup soccer match that is taking place in South Africa, because Israel did not qualify, in fact, they have only participated in one world cup, that of Mexico 70. One of the reasons why this country hardly goes to the World Cup is because it is eliminated by European countries although geographically it is located in the Middle East. This is because the FIFA, International Soccer Federation, to avoid a boycott of Arabic countries that do not accept being eliminated by this country, since 1970 decided to add Israel to Group II of the UEFA, which is the European Union Football Associations. In this area, the selection of Israel should be eliminated by European powers.
So this encounter is not soccer, it is rather an encounter of development and knowledge between the two countries. To better explain this “party”, we should mention first that Israel is a country located, as already stated, in the Middle East, between Asia and Europe, has borders with four countries: Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt, was founded in 1948, so it is a new nation, only sixty-two years old.
Having said this, the “game” starts: in the first minutes of the match, the Mexican team looks great and we can even say that they came with more than enough confidence, since the opponent is “small” and without World Cup experience, as they say in soccer jargon; the opponent is a “small fish”.
The Mexican delegation accompanying the “team of everyone,” consist of dozens of reporters, special envoys, sports commentators, writers, singers, comedians, hostesses, cooks, fortune tellers, magicians, clowns and artists of all kinds, all very happy to attend the event, with high expectations they make jokes everywhere and walk through the corridors of the stadium shaking their heads sideways to the catchy tune by Shakira called Waka-Waka. In an exaggerated display of affection and economic resources, some arrived two years earlier to the place of the match, if that was not enough, 20,000 enthusiastic fellow countrymen also accompany the “tricolor team”.
The Mexican forward has released several “shots” to the rival team concerning population, since we have 107 million inhabitants, we are number 11 in the rankings of the most populated countries in the world, on the other hand, Israel has seven million and is number 95 in the world. The excessive screems from one of our commentators “UFF, UFF Y RECONTRA UFF”, “CERQUITITA PAPÁ”, “QUE CHULADA DE MAÍZ PRIETO” and “QUE BOONITO ES LO BONITO”, contrasts with the real action of the game, nevertheless the game continues and we give them another “scare” in territorial extension, since Israel has 22 thousand square kilometers, and ranks 152 in the list of the world’s largest countries. To give us a better idea, our opponent is the size of the State of Mexico. On the other hand, we have almost two million square kilometers, we are number 15 in the ranking of the largest in the world; this means that geographically we are ninety times larger than they. In addition, we have eleven thousand kilometers of coastline and sea borders to trade with any part of the world. In port infrastructure, we have more than 100 coastal ports in the Pacific Ocean, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea. On the other hand, Israel has 200 kilometers of coastline and five harbors. In commercial advantage we are also much better on the field, because while the neighbors of Israel are bitter enemies, ours are good friends (most of the time), to the extent that we are buddies and business partners and best of all, we are not at war nor have military conflicts with any country. In 1994, Mexico signed a trade agreement to expand the exchange of goods and services with the United States and Canada; called the NAFTA, this agreement is an extraordinary market of opportunity for 500 million consumers.
Meanwhile, Israel is situated in one of the most violent regions in the world due to a conflict with the Arab countries. This complicated problem goes back three thousand years when the current territory of Israel was inhabited by the ancient people of Israel, a direct descendant of the first Jewish tribes mentioned in the Bible. For that reason, the people of Israel considers these sacred lands and with absolute right of seniority. In 1947, the United Nations approved a plan to establish the current state of Israel, the plan was to split or divide the territory of Palestine into two states, one Arab and one Jewish. Of course, the Arab countries never accepted the separation plan. When Israel declared its independence in 1948, the Arab countries declared war, this conflict is known as the Arab-Israeli War. Since then, the region has experienced bloody wars and decades of violence that have been aggravated by the dispute in an area known as the Gaza Strip.
Returning to the game, at this point in the “game”, no one would doubt that Mexico is a superpower in population, natural resources, geographical position and other tactical advantages, and in reality the team has more than enough talent in these areas and therefore, the goals will soon come. The opponent is retreating dodging the blows of the Mexican squad. In the stands, the chants excite everyone, especially the verses of “The King” and Cielito lindo, the game referee gives two loud whistles pointing with the right hand toward the center of the field, the first time finished with a score of zero to zero. This match continues…
Acerca del autor
- José Alberto Gaytán García ha escrito artículos y ensayos de corte académico en diarios y revistas de México y de los Estados Unidos; ha participado en importantes proyectos académicos e impartido conferencias sobre temas de historia, tecnología y educación en el marco de las relaciones entre México y los Estados Unidos, tema en el cual realizó sus estudios de doctorado en The Graduate School of Internacional Studies de la Universidad de Miami.