Football: Wellington Phoenix striker Tomer Hemed reveals fallout over Israeli flag controversy

Wellington Phoenix marquee signing Tomer Hemed understands why his club has decided to ban the Israeli national flag from home games in Wellington and Auckland.  

For the first time since scoring a goal in a 2-2 draw with Melbourne City and celebrating with the flag of his nation, Hemed has spoken about the fallout to what he believes was nothing out of the ordinary.

With the flags being banned, the Jewish community has found other ways to show their support and make him feel at home before Sunday's crucial clash against Perth Glory in Auckland.

Members of the Jewish community dropped off a special and traditional Friday meal for the Phoenix striker to welcome him to Auckland and make him feel at home. 

The special meal assures Hemed that, wherever he goes in the world, he's not alone.

"I used to celebrate like that a few weeks before and no-one said nothing," Hemed tells Newshub. "Then one day, in that game specifically, because of the situation in Israel, some people decided it's wrong to do it."

Most importantly to Hemed, the club supported him and the motivations behind the celebration, during the difficult days that followed

"I really just wanted to say peace for my family," Hemed says.

But the club did decide to ban national flags at their games in Wellington and Auckland, other than the New Zealand and Australian ones.

"I understand their decision, but obviously I was happy seeing the Jewish community with Israeli flags."

That's not to say the Israeli flags won't be present on Sunday, as the Jewish community printed the flag on their shirts for the Phoenix's 2-1 win over Western Sydney Wanderers on Wednesday.

Hemed scored his ninth goal in 12 games to make him the club's leading goalscorer for the season. 

"For me, I'm focused on the good things, and I focus on trying to score goals again and to celebrate in any way," he says. 

Hemed is happy to put the club first, as they push for an A-League playoff spot for the third successive season.

Watch the full story above.