|Photo by: Nir Elias/Reuters|
State indicts 4 Betar J'lem fans for racist chants
By YONAH JEREMY BOB
Soccer team's fans charged with calling “death to Arabs” and “burn down their village,” at match after Muslim players joined club.
The Jerusalem District Attorney on Thursday filed two indictments in the
magistrate’s court against four Betar Jerusalem fans for making racist
statements against Arabs and Muslims, including new players that had joined the
A statement released by the state said that the first indictment
was submitted against three fans: Menashe Eliyahu Mani, Lior Shimon Danino and
The fans are residents of Holon and Jerusalem and are aged
22 to 24.
The statement also said that the indictment alleged that during
the January 26 Betar Jerusalem-Bnei Yehuda game, the defendants wanted to show
opposition to bringing two Muslim players to the team from
During the game, the defendants called out in public “death to
Arabs,” according to the statement’s discussing of the indictment.
the statement indicated that the indictment alleged that Mani called out in
public to “burn their village.”
The second indictment was filed against
another Betar Jerusalem fan, age 23, also residing in
According to the press release, the indictment said that on
January 31, the defendant arrived at the soccer field in Bayit Vegan during a
team soccer practice.
This was the first soccer practice in which the two
new Muslim players participated, said the statement.
alleged that the defendant arrived with 20 to 30 other fans who were also
against the new players joining the team because of their
Throughout the practice, they called out “disgraceful insults”
against the team’s owners, the team’s chairman, the coach and the new players,
the statement said.
The statement said that the defendant was wearing a
shirt that read, “L.F. Death to Muhammad. 100% opposed.”
statement alleged that the defendant drew racist caricatures on his
In addition, noted the statement, the defendant waved a sign with
a picture of Nadallah, a former Betar player of Muslim descent, and his
statement in an interview that “I wouldn’t recommend for a Muslim to join Betar.
The extremists won’t change.”
The indictments themselves were not
provided at press time as some of the defendants still had not been reached by
the State Attorney’s Office, which has a policy not to distribute indictments
publicly until they reach defendants.
However, because of “the great
importance” of the indictments to the public, the state said it “rushed
submitting the indictments” and immediately made their contents public through
All of this is part of the state’s “fight against violence
and racism in sports,” said the statement.
While not part of the
indictments, related incidents from the same series of events described above
included a fan throwing rocks at the players’ cars, another climbed a fence and
attacked a guard, and a third tried to break into the car of Betar chairman
Itzik Kornfein, police said.
Betar fans are furious over owner Arkadi
Gaydamak’s announcement that the club has signed two Muslim players, Dzhabrail
Kadiyev and Zaur Sadayev, from the Chechnyan team Terek Grozny. During the
January 26 game against Bnei Yehuda, fans raised an enormous banner that read
“Betar pure forever” and sang anti-Arab chants.
Police had arrested more
than a dozen people involved in the incident with the banner.
Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court barred the entrance of 50 Betar fans to a match
against Umm el-Fahm after the incident. In addition to those barred from that
game, all of the fans arrested have been banned from attending soccer games for
the rest of the season and ordered to pay a fine of at least NIS
Melanie Lidman contributed to this report.