President Reuven Rivlin has condemned racial slurs directed against Maccabi Tel Aviv midfielder Maharan Radi.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, Rivlin said that all racist attacks were shameful. He commended the attorney general and the police for opening an investigation against the provocateurs of racial incitement, and said that it was essential to come down with a heavy hand on any extremist group which promotes racial intolerance.
“Maharan Radi is an Israeli citizen and an excellent footballer in whom Israel takes great pride” said Rivlin, who warned that racist incitement against him by nationalist zealots could escalate into racist attacks on the whole of Israel’s Arab population who, he said are an inseparable part of the Israel experience. .
Any expression of a racist nature must be condemned in the strongest terms declared Rivlin, who noted that the evils of racism have spread beyond Maccabi Tel Aviv and have been cast against Arabs in other football teams as well.
Such actions bring shame upon Israel and must be stopped immediately he said, adding that there is no room for racial or religious intolerance in the Jewish state.
When he was Speaker of the Knesset, Rivlin also spoke out strongly against any form of racial discrimination, and in his inauguration speech two weeks ago, emphasized that all citizens of Israel were equal and entitled to the same civil rights.