Soccer Player Who Dodged IDF Can Return Home Without Arrest

IDF to let Ben Sahar to enter and exit for match against Moldova, but reiterates obligation for service.

Israeli soccer player Ben Sahar will be permitted to enter Israel for an upcoming match this week without being arrested by Israel Defense Force authorities for dodging his compulsory service, Israel's football association said on Sunday.

Sahar, who currently plays for Espanyol in Spain, had feared that if he came back to Israel to play in the national team's World Cup qualifier against Moldova, the IDF would require him to report to for enlistment the following day.

The 20-year-old soccer forward is considered one of Israel's best players.

Talks between Israel's soccer association and IDF officials resulted in an agreement allowing Sahar to enter and exit the country without being arrested, due to his status as an exceptional athlete.

"In order to protect the important mission that the Israeli national soccer team faces, the IDF does not intend to implement an unnecessary law procedure. The IDF is obligated to allow Sahar to enter and exit without arrest," said a spokesperson from Israel's soccer association.

The IDF clarified the decision by saying that it does not change Sahar's previous obligation [to the IDF]. They said that talks regarding Sahar will continue following the holiday break.