Justice Minister Tzipi Livni on Tuesday expressed alarm at the level of violence permeating Israeli society a day after the soccer match between Maccabi Tel Aviv and Hapoel Tel Aviv was stopped midway when a fan burst on to the field and attacked a player.
"Yesterday it happened on the pitch. We saw the ugly violence that is blowing up in our faces in reality," Livni wrote on her Facebook page.
"The violence is penetrating our squares, our sports, and in the end, our social media networks and our children's lives," she stated.
Livni said that education, law enforcement and punishment were the necessary tools needed to confront the phenomenon.
"We will add other tools if need be and become more strict - because racism, violence and hate truly threaten us from within as a society and a state, no less so than the terror that threatens us from outside," she warned.
With the match tied at 1-1 in the 34th minute, a Hapoel fan broke onto the pitch and confronted Maccabi midfielder Eran Zahavi. The supporter tried to assault Zahavi, who responded by kicking the intruder.
The match eventually resumed, but just seconds later, several Maccabi fans ran onto the pitch and raced towards the Hapoel stand, forcing the referee to halt proceedings. Both teams ultimately left the pitch but it took a further 30 minutes until finally a decision was made that there was no way the encounter could continue, with both sides demanding to suspend the match.
Twelve people arrested for the fracas were set to face a remand hearing at Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court on Tuesday. Police were expected to ask the court to extend the remand of some of the suspects and to release others with conditions.Allon Sinai contributed to this report.