The dispute between the Tel Aviv Municipality and Hapoel Tel Aviv basketball fans over the planned demolition of the Ussishkin Arena took a nasty turn this week, with vandals desecrating the graves of Mayor Ron Huldai's parents at Kibbutz Hulda, near Rehovot.
Ussishkin Arena, named for Menahem Ussishkin, who headed the Jewish National Fund from 1923 until his death in 1941, has been the home of Hapoel Tel Aviv since 1953.
The vandals, who have not been identified, spray-painted the slogan "Mi shemitasek im Ussishkin met" ("Anyone who messes with Ussishkin dies.")
Huldai's sister-in-law, Adi, who lives on the kibbutz, told Army Radio the slogan had been painted on her father-in-law's grave in red and on her mother-in-law's in black - Hapoel's team colors.
"Over their names, this was written: "Beware of Gate 5," she said. Gate 5 is where many Hapoel Tel Aviv basketball fans sit when they attend their club's soccer games at Bloomfield Stadium in Jaffa.
Another sentence reportedly read: "Huldai - you're next."
Noam Buchman, one of the leaders of the fight to save the stadium, expressed disgust at the vandalism in an interview to Army Radio, but said that Huldai had treated the protesters "undemocratically and illegally."
The mayor told Army Radio that protests had recently become more violent. "I could see them throwing a grenade... I see how leaders' blood is seen as forfeit, and then we wonder when [attacks] happen," he said. The writing is on the wall, Huldai said.
Huldai said that he and his family would clean his parents' graves and return to their normal routine.