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Bibi, Tibi, Saudi

Netanyahu, Tibi salute Saudi soccer victory over Argentina

Presumptive PM phones ‘my brother’ Israel-friendly Saudi blogger Mohammed Saud; Arab Israeli lawmaker tweets that 2-1 win ‘dazzled’ the world

Saudi Arabia's fans celebrate their victory after the World Cup group C soccer match between Argentina and Saudi Arabia at the Lusail Stadium in Lusail, Qatar, November 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Jorge Saenz)
Saudi Arabia's fans celebrate their victory after the World Cup group C soccer match between Argentina and Saudi Arabia at the Lusail Stadium in Lusail, Qatar, November 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Jorge Saenz)

Presumptive prime minister-to be Benjamin Netanyahu and Hadash-Ta’al MK Ahmad Tibi, who disagree on nearly everything else, were among several Israeli lawmakers who publicly rejoiced over Saudi Arabia’s shock World Cup soccer victory over Argentina.

Netanyahu posted a tweet with a video of him talking to Israel-friendly Saudi blogger Mohammed Saud with the caption: “I congratulated my brother Mohammed Saud on the amazing victory of Saudi Arabia today in the World Cup, give ’em hell.”

In the video, Netanyahu told Saud, who has visited Israel despite the two countries not having diplomatic relations, that “Argentina is a great soccer power, Messi is a great soccer player — this makes Saudi Arabia’s victory all the more impressive. Mazal tov.”

Netanyahu said all of Israel was impressed with Saudi Arabia’s victory.

Netanyahu, who signed the Abraham Accords that normalized ties between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, is eager to open diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia as well.

Meanwhile, Tibi, who is rarely on the same side as Netanyahu, also took to Twitter to praise the Saudi achievement.

“What an amazing thing, this win by the Saudi team over Argentina. An incredible performance, sacrifice, striving and triumph. The Saudi crowd is the 12th man. You’ve dazzled the whole world,” Tibi wrote.

Right-wing lawmakers frequently say voters have a choice between “Bibi or Tibi,” using Netanyahu’s nickname.

The Saudi 2-1 win over Argentina was seen as one of the greatest upsets in World Cup history.

Argentina arrived in Qatar on a 36-match unbeaten streak and appeared to be on its way to a straightforward victory after captain Lionel Messi scored from an early penalty.

Saudi Arabia, ranked a lowly 51st in the world, equalized early in the second half through Saleh Al-Shehri, silencing the hordes of Argentina fans.

And just minutes later the Green Falcons were in front when Salem Al-Dawsari rifled an unstoppable shot into the top corner after a delightful piece of trickery.

Argentina, which last failed to reach the knockout phase in 2002, will be dumped out as early as Saturday if it loses its second match to Mexico.

Jack Mukand and AFP contributed to this report

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