Shalom Life | July 18, 2015

Beitar Jerusalem Fans Riot at Belgium Game

The latest incident, involving smoke bombs, may be the last straw for the team’s owner

By: B. Shane Morganstein

Published: July 17th, 2015 in Sports » Israel

Photo: Beitar fans in Belgium

Credit: Ynet News


Beitar Jerusalem is causing controversy once again, after fans swarmed the field and rioted after a game in Belgium Thursday night. Initially sparked by anti-Semitic comments by some opposing fans, Beitar fans threw smoke grenades onto the field and hung a racist flag in response, resulting in play being suspended.

However, this could be the last straw for a team that seems to get in trouble at every opportunity. Beitar Jerusalem owner Ely Tabib, after Thursday night’s events, is swearing off of Israeli soccer, and is planning to leave the team as a result of their repeated controversial encounters with other teams and their fans.

“I am ashamed and shocked by the behavior of part of the crowd tonight. The whole world watched the horror, this embarrassing horror show, conducted by the same radical group who are not true Beitar fans in my eyes,” Tabib explained. “Tonight officially marked the end of my role in Israeli soccer, and specifically with Beitar Jerusalem,” Tabib continued.

Beitar can undoubtedly expect some serious fines from UEFA, the governing body of European football, thanks to the disruptions caused by Beitar fans. During the resulting suspension of the game, the Belgian goalie managed to be pelted with an object, hitting him in the head and requiring him to seek medical attention.

The league manager responded to the events, saying, “It’s a shame that after years in which Israeli fans provided exemplary support to their teams in Europe, a portion of Beitar fans managed to completely embarrass Israeli soccer as a whole, and their team specifically.”

Chairman of the league, Yoram Bauman, added, “These fans need to be expelled from the soccer fields once and for all. It’s a disgrace. I am ashamed of them.”

Miri Regev, Israeli Minister of Sport, also responded to the incident, saying, “I feel the need to condemn all violence of any type by soccer fans. A small group of Beitar fans hurt the club’s reputation. Their behavior is unacceptable. I find it right to summon the relevant authorities in order to decide on the matter of the harsh punishment which will follow.”

“It’s a shame that the Bellar fans choose to embarrass the whole of Israel soccer, and their team specifically. The violent behavior which included throwing smoke bombs onto the pitch represents a type of wild behavior, which lacks even the slightest respect for anyone working in the sport,” she added.

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