Alarmed and angered by increasing incidents of racism perpetrated primarily by football fans, but also elsewhere in the country, President Shimon Peres sent a sharply worded letter to the Israel Football Association prior to Tuesday night's match between Betar Jerusalem and Maccabi Umm el Fahm. Peres appealed to the IFA and all other relevant authorities to do their utmost to quell all expressions and manifestations of racism inside and outside football stadiums.
Condemning recent demonstrations of racism on the part of some Betar football fans, Peres noted that the Jewish people, more than any other nation in the world have been the victims of racism. Law enforcement authorities must take preventive action before the situation gets completely out of hand, he urged.
"I am sure that the entire country is shocked by this phenomenon and will never agree to come to terms with it," Peres wrote in his letter. Noting that sport today is a universal declaration against racism, Peres emphasized that it was unacceptable for the opposite to take place in Israel.