Jerusalem police detained 16 Betar Jerusalem fans over the past few days in
connection with a racist riot at the Malha Mall last Monday.
Ten of the
suspects were released on condition by the police commander and the remaining
six suspects, five youths and one adult, were brought to the Jerusalem
Magistrate’s Court on Thursday afternoon.
The judge accepted the police’s
recommendations to forbid the suspects from attending any soccer games for the
remainder of this season as well as the next two seasons. Additionally, the
suspects will have to pay a guarantee of NIS 3,500 against future offenses. Next
week, police will most likely recommend the indictment of the six suspects for
chanting racist statements and physically attacking Arab cleaners in the
City Councilor Elisha Peleg, who holds the sport and security
portfolios, admitted that the city’s efforts at eradicating racism among younger
fans through education and workshops has been unsuccessful.
really trying with education and we’re hoping that these phenomenon won’t happen
but we can’t predict them beforehand,” he said.
On Wednesday night, more
than 150 people gathered at the Malha mall at an anti-racism demonstration
organized by the “Tag Meir” (Bright Tag) forum, which is dedicated to stopping
racism and sexism.
“It’s important to have tolerance in Jerusalem, it’s
embarrassing what happened in the mall,” said Stacey Blank, a mother of two, at
the protest on Wednesday. “When they behave like this, it’s a way of giving them
On Thursday, the Coalition Against Racism in Israel slammed
the Jerusalem police’s slow reaction to the riot and accused them of only
opening an investigation after widespread public outcry in the media. Police
said that they did not pursue the matter because by the time officers arrived on
the scene the rioters had dispersed, and none of the Arab cleaners wanted to
file a complaint.
“The Israel police’s refusal to open an investigation
without a complaint being filed by one of the people involved is outrageous and
sinful, and is part of the duties and role of the police,” the organization
wrote in a letter to the police.