The British newspaper The Guardian reported that Beitar Jerusalem, which plays in the Israeli Premier League, is facing a crisis following a recent agreement to sell part of its shares to a member of the ruling family in the UAE.
She said that a fanatical group of Beitar Jerusalem fans vowed to boycott their club and storm training sessions for the soccer team in protest against the purchase by a member of the UAE royal family of 50% of the club’s shares.
The newspaper stated that Beitar Jerusalem is the only Israeli team that did not include an Arab player in its ranks, noting that the club’s “fanatical” fans used to chant “Death to the Arabs.”
The Betar Club announced on December 7 that it had signed an agreement with Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Nahyan (a member of the ruling family in the Emirates) to buy 50% of the club’s shares and invest more than 300 million shekels ($ 92.18 million) in the club over the ten years. Coming.
In its report from the city of Jerusalem, the Guardian quoted a fan named Muar Evrach as saying that the purchase had prompted many supporters of the club to turn against him.
Although Ifrash supports the purchase, hoping that it will stimulate the team to succeed in the same way as Manchester City has achieved after its purchase from the UAE, he feels that a group of the club’s “fanatical” fans will never accept that. He said that the racism that stigmatizes Beitar Jerusalem fans “did not come from a vacuum.”
The British newspaper pointed out that a “extremist” group of club supporters known as “the family” was accused of writing lewd anti-Arab slogans on the walls last week during the football team’s first training session since the announcement of the purchase. The police arrested 4 of them.
The newspaper quoted a member of the “family” group – who requested anonymity or an indication of his identity – as saying that selling a share of the club’s shares to Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Nahyan threatens the “Jewishness” of the entire city of Jerusalem, not the club alone.
The Guardian stated in its report that the deal is one of the first fruits of the “diplomatic breakthrough” that occurred between Israel and the UAE, after the two countries signed a number of agreements to establish formal relations between them.
In a phone call to the newspaper, the club’s CEO, Moni Baruch, described the deal as “the right way to spread peace”, and represented “a good opportunity for the club and Israeli football, and an opportunity to put an end to the racism of a minority of fans.”
But the Guardian believes in its report that the deal may not have anything to do with coexistence or even the club itself, as much as it is an aspiration from the UAE to gain political credit with its new ally, Israel, and its backers in Washington.
Among the supporters of “Beitar Jerusalem” a broad segment of the Israeli political elite, among them Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, while President Reuven Rivlin was director of the club.
In a statement that undoubtedly won the approval of the Israeli government – in the words of the Guardian – Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Nahyan referred to Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The British newspaper described the statement as “controversial”, because the status of the divided city is a fundamental issue in the eyes of the Palestinians.
Beitar club fans are known to be the most racist in Israel, and they have previously broadcast songs containing insulting phrases of the Prophet Muhammad – may God bless him and grant him peace – in conjunction with the offensive cartoons crisis that has returned to the fore from France in recent weeks.