A RIGHT-WING minority of Beitar Jersusalem fans have launched outraged protests against the Israeli club’s new Arab owner.
The Israeli premier league team, which has never fielded an Arab player, recently had 50% of its ownership bought by Hamad bin Khalifa, an Arab Sheikh from Abu Dhabi. Beitar Jerusalem’s far-right hooligan group, La Familia, has launched a bitter campaign against the move marking a new chapter in the club’s history of racial tension.
The hardcore fans, who chant “Death to Arabs” at matches in Israel’s ethnically divided city, have been accused of writing anti-Arab graffiti at the club’s stadium and staging a protest at a training session. Jerusalem has long been a hotspot of racial tensions between some of the city’s Jewish population and Muslim Arab residents.
The club’s CEO, Moni Barush, told the Guardian that the purchase of shares from the Sheikh is “a good opportunity to end the racism from a minority of fans”. The club gained controversy from the 2015 documentary Forever Pure, which followed the plight of two Muslim Chechen players who were met with racist abuse from some right-wing fans.
The film’s director, Maya Zinshstein, was received violent death threats from La Familia, who warned her that “the next film will be about your funeral”.
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