1. Mourinho follows Madonna, Arnie, Whitney
2. Jose Mourinho of Chelsea
3. Roman Abramovich
4. Pini Zahavi, the world's top soccer agent
5. Ireland ready for Israel
6. "Mourinho On A Mission In Israel" (Totally Jewish.com, March 10, 2005)
7. "Mourinho heads to Israel on peace mission" (AFP, March 5, 2005)
8. "Chelsea's Mourinho to visit Israel" (Jerusalem Post, March 17, 2005)
[Note by Tom Gross]
Jose Mourinho, who is currently regarded by many as the world's leading football (soccer) manager, plans to visit Israel later this month at the invitation of Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres. During his stay, Mourinho will watch mixed teams of Palestinian and Israeli children play and give a talk to their football coaches.
Mourinho's planned visit comes at a time when many American Jewish celebrity liberals continue to stay away from Israel. (See the dispatch of April 1, 2002, titled Steven Spielberg, Barbara Streisand, Philip Roth, Daniel Libeskind: Where are you? and other previous dispatches on this list.)
Mourinho's visit follows those last year of other non-Jewish celebrities such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Madonna, Christopher Reeve (who praised Israeli spinal cord treatment advancements) and Whitney Houston (who called Israel "home").
There will no doubt be widespread coverage of the trip in the world media (at least outside the US) since at present Mourinho's every move is headline news in papers around the world.
Mourinho is scheduled to be in Israel on March 27 and 28, although he may extend his visit in order to see the Israel-France World Cup qualifying match on March 30th.
Mainly for the benefit of subscribers to this email list in the US (where there is far less interest in soccer than in the rest of the world), I attach some background information followed by three news reports.
Jose Mourinho, 42, is the Portuguese manager of London soccer team Chelsea. He gained prominence at Portuguese club Porto with whom he won five trophies in two seasons including two European trophies, achieving unprecedented success with a club from an unfashionable European soccer country. In the summer of 2004 he joined Chelsea – which is now one of the richest clubs in the world due to the hundreds of millions ploughed into it by its new owner Roman Abramovich, a Russian billionaire. Mourinho has already tasted success at Chelsea with a League Cup trophy and his club are now the favorites to win the League, as well as challenge again for the European Cup, the foremost trophy in Europe.
According to the Forbes magazine list of 2005 Roman Abramovich is the 21st richest person in the world. He lost his parents as a child, dropped out of college and then accumulated his fortune in the 1990s through a series of deals in the Russian oil industry. He is also the governor of the Arctic region of Chukotka (inhabited by 79,000 Eskimos). He purchased Chelsea in the summer of 2003 and has since invested over 200 million pounds (US $380 million) into the club. As a result he has changed the face of European soccer, making Chelsea one of the foremost soccer clubs in the world.
WORLD'S TOP SOCCER AGENT
Pini Zahavi is the son of a shopkeeper from Ness Ziyona outside Tel Aviv. He enjoyed success as a soccer writer for the Israeli tabloid Yediot Ahronot for many years where he forged impressive contacts with many important people in the soccer world. In the Eighties and Nineties he established himself as a soccer agent making small to medium deals, establishing contacts and forging a reputation for trust and discretion. Through close links with Alex Ferguson, the Manchester United manager, and through setting up the deal which brought Roman Abramovich to Chelsea, he has now emerged as the top soccer agent in the world.
Both Pini Zahavi, and Roman Abramovich (who is of Jewish origin) may be partly responsible for bringing Jose Mourinho to Israel.
IRELAND READY FOR ISRAEL
The largest number of non-Jewish, non religious Christian tourists to visit Israel in recent years will arrive from Ireland next week for Israel's crucial world cup qualifier match with the Republic of Ireland.
Ireland manager Brian Kerr told Irish media yesterday that he is "happy there will be at least 2,000 Irish fans traveling to the game."
"There are just as many people killed in Dublin and places round the country as is the case with Tel Aviv," said Kerr, who urged Irish fans to visit Israel.
The match is in the Tel Aviv suburb of Ramat Gan on March 26, 2005.
-- Tom Gross
MOURINHO ON A MISSION IN ISRAEL
Mourinho On A Mission In Israel
By Andrew Sherwood
March 10, 2005
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, more known for his controversial outbursts during the season, will turn his mind to being a peace activist later this month when he visits Israel as part of a peace initiative.
Invited to the country by Israeli Vice Premier Shimon Peres, the outspoken Portuguese coach will watch mixed teams of Palestinian and Israeli children play and give a talk to their football coaches during his stay.
Mourinho said: "It is a different challenge, but one which I could not turn down. It will be my modest contribution to the strengthening of ties of understanding and friendship between these two people who, like me, desire a peaceful future."
Although no dates have been confirmed, Mourinho said the trip would take place during the second half of the month, which would coincide with the international weekend.
MOURINHO HEADS TO ISRAEL ON PEACE PROMOTION MISSION
Mourinho heads to Israel on peace promotion mission
Agence France Presse
March 5, 2005
Chelsea's Portuguese manager Jose Mourinho has said he would travel to Israel later this month to watch mixed teams of Palestinian and Israeli children play football as part of a peace initiative.
He said he has been invited to visit the country by Israeli Vice Premier Shimon Peres and would also give a talk to Palestinian and Israeli football coaches during his stay.
"It is a different challenge, but one which I could not turn down," Mourinho wrote Saturday in his regular column in "Dez", the weekly magazine supplement to top-selling Portuguese sports daily Record.
"It will be my modest contribution to the strengthening of ties of understanding and friendship between these two people who, like me, desire a peaceful future," he added.
Mourinho gave no exact dates for the trip, saying only that it would take place during the second half of the month during a break in the English Premiership race.
CHELSEA'S MOURINHO TO VISIT ISRAEL
Chelsea's Mourinho to visit Israel
By Jerusalem Post staff
The Jerusalem Post
March 17, 2005
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho is scheduled to visit Israel at the end of the month as a guest of the Peres Center for Peace.
Mourinho will participate in a youth soccer tournament between mixed Israeli and Palestinian teams. He will also speak to the coaches that take part in the project and play soccer with the "Peace Team," an adult team of Palestinians and Israelis.
The Peres Center for Peace runs the "Twinned Peace Soccer Schools" project a network of co-ed Israeli and Palestinian sport clubs with more than 700 participating youths. The young people train and play together and receive extra help with their homework in accordance with the Center's educational peace plan which promotes peace through sport games.
Mourinho was invited after Israeli national team coach Avraham Grant and mega agent Pini Zehavi, who is in charge of purchases at Chelsea, met with Shimon Peres earlier this year. He is scheduled to be in Israel on March 27-28, although he may extend his visit to March 30 in order to see the Israel against France World Cup qualifying match on the 30th.