In a world where every issue seems separated into black or white, Uri Levy has spent the last decade operating in the grey. As the only Israeli Jewish journalist reporting on Palestinian football, the last few months have been an unending ordeal, with Levy suffering the loss of friends on both sides of the ongoing conflict in the region.

Some have died. Some have not, but been lost all the same. Since October 7th, that life he once enjoyed with a foot on either side of the divide has also seen him take flak from people he was once close to in both.

He fully understands then the nuances and the emotional impact of this war, both on the people of Palestine, and the people of his homeland. And, on his compatriots abroad, who may well be in countries where there is little sympathy – and anger, even – towards the actions of Israel in their response to the atrocities of Hamas.

Which is why he is ideally placed to give an insight into the feeling in his country towards the plight of Liel Abada, who is at once almost universally feted by the Celtic support as an individual, but who finds himself - as a proud Israeli - representing a club where a sizeable section of the fanbase are vociferous in both their support for Palestine, and their contempt for his nation.

READ MORE: Brendan Rodgers says 'Celtic family' are behind Liel Abada

There has been pressure placed on the 22-year-old to quit the club. His teammate for the national side, Dolev Haziza, said he should leave Celtic ‘immediately’. The Israel manager, Alon Hazan, called the Celtic fans ‘anti-Semitic’. And on and on it has gone.

That has led this week to reports that Abada may actually now be forced in fact to bow to such pressure and look for a new club. But in Levy’s view, the situation is not so black and white.

“Liel is not the first Israeli to play for Celtic,” Levy said.

“We remember very well Eyal Berkovic becoming the most expensive signing for the club at that time, and people really got connected with Celtic from that.

“People have certain opinions about us as Israelis, but we identify with the underdog point of view, and we really connect with this idea. We tend to feel that all the world is against us, and that is very similar in a way to what Celtic fans represent in a certain way within the UK.

“But there was a lot of tension towards the fact that Celtic do have the Green Brigade who are very vocal and very clear about what they think about Israel as an idea. I think as a community and fans of football, despite this situation, when Beram Kayal played there we all supported Celtic, the same with Nir Bitton who was there for more than a decade.

“The vast majority, more than 90-95 percent, were totally accepting of the fact that life is complex. That Celtic can be a great destination for Israeli footballers, and they can also have their most dominant fan group who would neglect the idea even of the existence of Israel.”

That being said, the timing of the Green Brigade’s display in support of Palestine at the home match against Kilmarnock on October 7th, with a banner proclaiming ‘Victory to the Resistance’, represented a crossing of the Rubicon for Israelis in Levy’s view.

“I cannot explain in words how that makes me feel,” he said.

“Anyone who celebrated October 7th, they basically were celebrating the massacre of Jews. A celebration of bloodshed and massacre, for that is what it was.

“My colleagues from across the Arab world from Morocco to Iran and Palestinians in the West Bank included, and in Jordan, they were sending me messages saying how sorry they were, and how shocked they were, and how those actions did not represent them.

“So, how come in Scotland, someone is waving a flag and celebrating? This will never be forgotten.

“That is where the will and the ability to accept complex situations, or complex identities, practically disappeared [in Israel]. It is very similar to what happened to the Palestinians, or the Arab world, or the Muslim world in general since Israel responded to the October 7th attack with the counterattack in Gaza.

“If I’m not mistaken, some of the Green Brigade also displayed the flag of the Palestinian Popular Front, which is a very symbolic terror organisation here in Israel. For us, they are the same level as Hamas.

“So, people lost their patience, and thought that anyone who was near this flag, and near these ideas, is in danger. This is how most people viewed Liel’s situation.”

And at the time, that is what sparked the outpouring of feeling that Abada should get as far away from the club as possible.

“The expectation on Liel to leave Celtic I would say was in correlation to what happened to us, and our ability and our will to accept calls for the demolition of Israel,” Levy continued.

“A lot of people here think ‘why would you want to make these people happy?’ This became the most common opinion at that time.”

With the passing of time though, has come the softening of such hardline sentiment in Israel, and a reversion to the view that the golden boy of Israeli football should do whatever is best for his career.

The actions of manager Brendan Rodgers in supporting Abada, and of the Celtic board in denouncing the political displays of the Green Brigade, have also helped to calm the tide of resentment towards the club in Levy’s view.

“It isn’t specifically now that people are suddenly saying that Liel should leave Celtic,” he said.

“With time, people have come back to recognising that the world is complex.

READ MORE: How Celtic critics helped Brendan Rodgers counsel Liel Abada

“Liel is one of our favourite sons here in terms of Israeli football. He is extremely talented, and we want to see him succeed. For me, I think he has made tremendous progress at Celtic.

“If you remember at the beginning of this war, Liel went to speak with the manager of Celtic, and afterwards the club released this announcement regarding the Green Brigade and the Palestinian flags.

“So, that encouraged a lot of the people here in Israel to say 'ok, first of all, Liel is a real man, and he stands for what he believes and what he represents – his people and his country. And second, the club is not the Green Brigade'.

“Celtic as a club did what they could do at their level to show the real essence of the club is to accept everyone.

“Anyone who is familiar with European football knows that Celtic is a big stage. But it is up to the club and for the manager to provide the conditions where Liel is happy to continue to develop, and happy to show his talent, as he has already at Celtic.

“If he is able to, then in Israel, Liel will get the support. Because he did something for us when he went to speak with the management of the club and the board, so we know where his heart is.

“I think that Liel will succeed again with Celtic, that he can rise up and score again and find his form, and if he does that then you will see a different reaction from Israelis.

“That will be because he stayed, he showed his real character, and he succeeded in getting his form back.”

To do that though, he will have to show resilience and mental fortitude, something that Levy knows he has in abundance. Abada too, after all, has suffered loss from this conflict far beyond the frivolities of football.

“I know from common friends of ours that he knows people who lost relatives, and that his friends got injured in the ground operation in Gaza,” he said.

“For Liel, as a young player, or as a young man, how can you even focus on football?

“He’s not the type of guy who would go to the media and talk about it. He’s a quiet boy, he doesn’t have an outgoing personality, as such.

“But as for these reports about people pressuring him to leave or people saying that he must leave? No.

“With the passing of time, and with all of that grief and sorrow, life goes on. We recognise that a person has to do whatever they can to care for themselves and to put themselves in the best situation possible.

“Whether Liel is in the best situation professionally at Celtic, this is one question. Whether emotionally and mentally it is a good place for him to be, I think only he can answer.

“I cannot see a possibility that this is not affecting his day-to-day routine. Footballers are human beings at the end of the day.

“But I don’t play down the strength of his character. He’s maybe not the most outspoken personality, but he is not a weak player in his mind.

“We know that football is complex, and that’s ok. We are not drawing the conclusion that all Celtic fans share the stance of the Green Brigade.

“So, if Celtic are giving Liel the stage to shine and show his talent, and if Liel is feeling good at this stage and producing the maximum out of himself there, then people will say ‘ok, if they want to wave these flags, let them wave, as long as Liel is playing well and scoring goals’.

“If he is not producing 100 percent from himself though and he is on the bench or whatever, people will not care about flags or the opinions of the Green Brigade, they will just want him to go somewhere he can play football regularly with a clear mind.”