A shirtless fan takes a swing at Maccabi Tel Aviv's Eran Zahavi.
(photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)
In preliminary votes Wednesday, the Knesset authorized bills to significantly increase the punishment for violence at sporting events.
Two similar proposals by MK Yoel Razbozov (Yesh Atid), a former professional judoka, and MK Gila Galmiel (Likud) would sentence sports rioters to either 10 years in prison or double the punishment for their crime.
The legislation was inspired by a recent riot
in a Maccabi Tel Aviv-Hapoel Tel Aviv game, in which a man ran on to the field to attack Maccabi player Eran Zehavi, who kicked him back, and soon after dozens more spectators ran on to the pitch.
"Violence on the street is serious, but it does not have the same negative influence as it does on the sports field," Razobozov explained. "Today it is clearer than ever that there is a real need for this bill, in order to increase deterrence."
Gamliel said that sporting events should be a family experience, but women and children have become afraid to attend them.
"The only way to stop these events is to increase the punishment for these criminals. I am sure that just this discussion will make law enforcement understand this," she stated.