Soccer: Violence, racism fall at Israeli soccer games

Report by the New Israel Fund reveals physical violence dropped by 59 percent compared to the previous season, with racial attacks down 40%.

By
June 12, 2008 00:13
Soccer: Violence, racism fall at Israeli soccer games

betar fans 248.88. (photo credit: Asaf Kliger [file])

Israeli soccer saw a dramatic decrease in violence last season, a report by the New Israel Fund released on Wednesday. According to the report, physical violence dropped by 59 percent compared to the previous season, with racial attacks also down 40%. The use of fire-crackers and smoke grenades dropped by 66% and there were only 24 incidents of abuse towards black players compared to 75 the previous season. The report also revealed that despite the efforts of the Betar Jerusalem management, the club finished last in the standings measuring racism and violence for a fourth straight season. Hapoel Tel Aviv, Maccabi Haifa and Maccabi Tel Aviv finished just above Betar, with Maccabi Herzliya and Ironi Kiryat Shmona top of the standings. The player who received the most abuse this season was Salim Toama, who didn't even play in Israel. Toama, who plays for Belgian team Standard Liege, is both an Arab and a former Hapoel Tel Aviv player and therefore a popular target for abuse by Betar Jerusalem and Maccabi Tel Aviv fans alike.


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