Real Madrid said on Wednesday that it has invited a young Palestinian boy who is the sole survivor of a West Bank arson attack last summer to visit the team and meet star player Cristiano Ronaldo.
Team spokesman Raul Serrano Quevedo said the team agreed to host the boy after receiving a request from the Palestinian Embassy.
In a letter to the ambassador, he wrote that the team “would be delighted” to receive the boy. He said details were still being worked out, and it’s not clear when the boy, Ahmad Dawabshe, will visit.
The 5-year-old boy is still recovering in an Israeli hospital from the July 31 fire that killed his 18-month-old brother and their parents. His family says it expects him to be discharged in three months, and that they then hope to travel to Spain.
Nasser Dawabsheh, the boy’s uncle, said Ahmad spends lots of time at the hospital watching sports and that he adores Ronaldo. He said that he and Ahmad’s grandfather would join the boy on the trip to Spain.
“We want to raise attention of this dreadful crime around the globe, and sports are the best way to do that,” he said. “We want to prevent similar crimes against our people.”
The arson was condemned across the Israeli political spectrum, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged “zero tolerance” in the fight to bring the assailants to justice. Earlier this month, Israel charged two Jewish extremists in the arson.
But Palestinians say the five-month investigation took far too long, and that Israel has done too little to curb other acts of violence by extremist West Bank settlers.