Israeli-Canadian tycoon relies on sport to promote the image of the Jewish state in the world
Israeli-Canadian philanthropist Sylvan Adams has no time to lose. Barely the bikes of his “Israel Premier Tech” team stored in the trucks of the Tour de France – tour in which his team won two stage victories – he receives Lionel Messi and Neymar with great fanfare in Israel. Sylvan Adams, who roundly calls himself a “self-proclaimed blue-and-white ambassador”, has managed to convince the Professional Football League for the second time to host a prestigious rally on Israeli soil.
On Sunday evening, the Bloomfield stadium in Tel Aviv will host, thanks to him, the famous Trophée des Champions, in which the reigning French champion in Ligue 1 will take on the winner of the Coupe de France. “Last year we took advantage of the fact that most stadiums around the world had health restrictions due to the pandemic. Israel, with its high vaccination coverage, was in a strong position and we obtained the Trophy in Tel Aviv,” explained. Sylvan Adams out on the set ofi24NEWS in June. “They were so pleased with the experience that they decided to repeat it,” he rejoiced.
The presence in Tel Aviv of the undisputed football star Lionel Messi, who arrived at Ben Gurion airport on Friday evening and followed 230 million people on social networks, represents in the eyes of the real estate mogul a unique opportunity to make Israel shine, far from received ideas. and negative clichés about the country. According to him, almost 400 million viewers worldwide are expected to watch the match.
Sylvan Adams, 63, is not new to “pro-Israeli sports communication”. He is the one to whom we owe the start of the Giro (Tour of Italy) in Jerusalem in 2018, the Argentina-Uruguay friendly match in Tel Aviv the following year or the creation of the Israel cycling team. Israel Premier Tech in 2022), who participates in major UCI World Tour competitions.
It has also funded a sports academy at Tel Aviv University, which aims to “raise the level of sports performance in the country in the areas of swimming, running, cycling and triathlon”.
“I think sport is a great tool for promoting what I call ‘normal Israel’, the image of Israel in the world,” he said.
Sylvan Adams is the son of Marcel Abramovich, who fled Nazi labor camps in Romania in the 1940s to reach Palestine under British Mandate, before settling in Quebec a few years later. “A Return Home”. For example, in 2016 he declared his installation in Israel, a country “open, tolerant, full of diversity and very democratic”.
“Sport is a language that everyone speaks… and using sport for a positive diplomatic purpose, such as building ties with our neighbors in the Middle East or hosting a football match in Israel, is sports diplomacy. And I plead guilty to this idea,” he said. argued.
In response, pro-Palestinian associations and other BDS are also playing their cards, waving Palestinian flags to denounce the Israel Premier Tech team’s participation in the Tour de France, or leading a campaign in front of the Professional’s offices Football League, to urge the French football authorities to move the Champions Trophy at the end of June. A request that remained a dead letter.
“We have Arab police officers, doctors, Arab nurses. There are Arab Israeli diplomats representing Israel abroad, Arab Israeli elected officials in the Knesset and now an Arab party in the ruling coalition. That’s the real story (…) wants to show the real face of Israel,” the businessman answers simply. This supporter of dialogue still declared at the end of the Tour de France that nothing would make him more proud than having an Israeli Arab or even Palestinian rider on his team.
But Sylvan Adams still has two big ambitions that he wants to achieve: to organize the start of the Tour de France in Israel in a few years, as he succeeded in 2018 with the Giro and above all to own a football World Cup in Israel, co-organized by Israel and its neighboring countries. An insane project, but undoubtedly fitting for this self-proclaimed ambassador who seems to set no limits when it comes to the brilliance of the Jewish state.