In a reality where the word “homo” is a legitimate part of the repertoire of songs of hatred and dishonor on the sports field, a rainbow flag raised by soccer players is an unusual and exciting  event, even for a tolerant team like Hapoel Katamon Jerusalem.

A photo of Hapoel Katamon soccer team players raising a rainbow flag with the logo mark of their team while celebrating their victory in the premiere league this weekend has gone viral in Israel. The players took the flag from one of the fans who raised it during the game in the audience.

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Behind the flag stands an informal group of fans of the team, who, a couple of months ago, launched a Facebook page titled “Love Katamon, Hate Racism.” The group tries to fight hate manifestations in soccer and in general, violence against women, and recently has decided to come out with a campaign against homophobia.

They started with posting pictures from similar campaigns by fans of other teams around the world, handed out stickers that read “Hapoel Katamon Fans Oppose Homophobia,” and this weekend the peak occurred, when the players happily waved the rainbow flag.

The group’s administrators insist that this wasn’t an official initiative  of the team, or even of the organized team’s fans (known for its tolerance for diversity), but they feel that their initiative definitely brought the spirit of anti-homophobia to the whole audience. The event this weekend was totally spontaneous, they say, which made them (and me!) very happy.

Go Hapoel Katamon!


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